Here’s a depressing read about the absolute fucking disaster that is Louisiana:
Initially, Jindal had been able to cut taxes because Louisiana was buoyed by billions in federal money, an influx to help with the recovery from Hurricane Katrina, in 2005. But as that money ran dry, Jindal said he would veto any bills that would push taxes back up to where they had been. Instead, to plug budget gaps, Jindal relied not just on cuts, but also on controversial, one-off fundraising methods. The state sold off assets, including parking lots and farmland. It cleaned out money from hundreds of trust funds — among them, one intended to build reefs for marine wildlife. It pieced together money from legal settlements.***
The math, now, is daunting: For the fiscal year ending June 30, Louisiana is facing a $940 million deficit, roughly one-eighth of what the state typically doles out from its general fund in a year. For 2016-17, which begins July 1, the gap is $2 billion.
“This was years of mismanagement by a governor who was more concerned about satisfying a national audience in a presidential race,” said Jay Dardenne (R), the lieutenant governor under Jindal who is now the state’s commissioner of administration. Dardenne said Jindal had helped the state put off its day of reckoning in a way that mirrored a “Ponzi scheme.”
Dardenne was elected separately from Jindal and said he wasn’t “part of his inner circle.”
Jindal suspended his presidential campaign in November, saying he couldn’t stand out in a “crazy, unpredictable election season.”
On Jindal’s watch, nearly every agency in Louisiana shed employees, and state lawmakers say some teetered because of the losses. The Department of Children & Family Services shrank to 3,400 employees, from 5,000 in 2008, and social workers began carrying caseloads above national standards. The state also cut funding for youth services and mental health treatment.
“When you cut those programs, it doesn’t change the need for people to get those services,” said Walt Leger (D), a state representative. “It just means you’re no longer providing them. Those folks end up in jail or wandering the street, not being treated for mental health issues, and all of those things have a huge societal cost.”
In recent days, lawmakers have zeroed in on a plan that would somewhat narrow the deficit for the rest of this fiscal year but barely make a dent in the $2 billion gap for next year. Lawmakers would raise sales and cigarette taxes while dipping further into a rainy day fund. They would also use settlement funds from BP, the company responsible for a 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Still, massive cuts would still be required for hospitals and universities.
The same thing, of course, has happened in the other state where the conservative ideal for fiscal governance has been implemented, and it’s a god damned train wreck, too:
Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s aggressive tax cuts have come back to haunt him. In the latest move to make up for a massive state deficit caused by his economic policy, Brownback plans to cut nearly $45 million in funding for public schools and higher education in his state by March.
Brownback shared his plans for the current budget cycle on Thursday ahead of a Senate vote on a bill aimed at eradicating a $344 million deficit projected for the end of June. More than half of the money would be taken from funding for K-12 schools, and take place as soon as March 7, The Associated Press reported. The cut would also affect Kansas colleges and universities. Top Republicans said lawmakers need to agree on a solution to fix the budget by Feb. 13 to make sure the state pays its bills on time through the summer months.
Brownback spent his first term slashing taxes for the rich, promising it would lead to boom times for everyone else. Brownback’s “real live experiment” was supposed to lift Kansas out of the recession and into economic prosperity. The tax breaks instead led to debt downgrades, weak growth, and left the state finances in shambles. The Republican-led legislature in his state previously celebrated his massive tax cuts, but his action landed the state’s budget in shambles when it didn’t boost the economy like he’d hoped.
In his State of the State address last month to kick off his second term, Brownback announced that he would pursue tax increases, reversing his past policy. Republicans are also calling for higher taxes on cigarettes and liquor as part of the annual budget.
My own state has a budget hole that the legislature is going to blow open worse next year as they expand tax cuts for energy producers, and up north in Pennslyvania, Gov. Wolf is trying to clean up Corbett’s mess but Republicans are having a god damned siezure over raising the personal income tax from 3.07 percent to 3.4 percent. You read that right. from .0307 to .034. Meaning for every hundred dollars of taxable income, your income tax rises from $3.07 to $3.40. For the median income in PA, that is basically 150 bucks a year.
So while we are all freaking out about the Drumpf the Insult Comic Hairpiece talking about his dick- and don’t get me wrong, he’s a fucking head case and a fascist, it’s worth remembering that the sane Republicans are batshit fucking insane. The sane Republicans don’t even pass the Jon Rogers legendary 2004 “I miss Republicans” test.
How about someone in the media point that shit out? How many more times are we going to have to go test these failed policies that hurt people and the nation before we stop? As Charlie Pierce has quipped, “the thing about lab rats is that most of them die.”