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Louisiana Faces Another Serious Budget Deficit
The Vinyl Institute has been actively monitoring the Louisiana budget crisis and potential impacts on the vinyl industry. Last month state lawmakers came close, but were unable to fully close a projected budget shortfall of nearly $950 million, the largest in state history, for this fiscal year ending June 30. Additional cuts will be made to healthcare services and the Department of Education. Attention now turns to addressing next year’s budget deficit.
Newly elected Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards and Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne addressed the House Committee on Appropriations this week to present a plan to eliminate the projected $750 million deficit for Fiscal Year 2016-17. The proposal would make significant cuts to the TOPS free college tuition program, colleges, public schools, and safety net hospitals for the poor. The proposal calls for cuts to every agency and many programs, including $408 million from the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), a 6.1 percent cut to higher education, and $183 million from the TOPS scholarship program, which is expected to impact over 30,000 college students. The cuts to DHH alone could force the closure of four public private partnership hospitals across the state. The Governor also called for new revenue generating measures but did not provide specific proposals.
The House and Senate have already passed two bills that would temporarily remove certain tax exemptions and exclusions for businesses, including business utilities and manufacturing machinery and equipment purchases. Additionally, the legislature passed a bill to raise the state sales tax by one cent, bringing it to the highest state sales tax in the country.
VI will continue monitoring the situation and work with our members in Louisiana to protect our industry against potential impacts. If you’d like more information or to get involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.