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The Think Tank 1110am, Louisiana's Budget Crisis

Feb 23, 2016|

What if COMPROMISE is the fix for Louisiana’s budget crisis?   If your representative crosses party lines to solve the state’s budget crisis do you applaud ‘em or oppose ‘em the next time the run for office?  This hours guest: Kenny Howard - Louisiana State Rep District 62 Jackson (Republican) Bill Backstrom - Member of C100

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Actually Todd and s's in foreign Garland Robinette. 260187. Or you can text that set 87 its immediacy some people texting and about the the weather and just to state this to let everyone know. You're not texting. WW LTV channel four. I have no power to put the Young and the Restless back on sorry. But it out of politics. But he has a thought I. I have no control over that and so are we we hear two different companies with two different owners we. Just use their weather and news people so I can't get the Young and the Restless back here but what I can't do. Is ask you this way of compromise is the fix for Louisiana's budget crisis. And if you're represented of crosses party lines the salt the State's budget crisis the applaud more than in the next time they run for office that is are pretty jag or opinion poll by the way. Right now those we already voting 67%. Say. You applaud them 33% say you would oppose them and we have state representative with this Kenny however. Whose district has 62. Kenny thanks for taking time to join us today Adobe to. Thank you dollar appreciated the offer and you Republicans I have a Republican from pro mode where fortunately fortune in the northern port au prince Edward direction factory area. Our right and just how bad it is I know we've heard it from more from John Kennedy we've heard it from. The governor we've we've heard from jade darted but you're in the legislature you guys were in on the how bad is the budget deficit right now. Well it's it's it's tremendous to focus horrible problem that. Been troubled we've you know for years and years we've kicked candor on the road and I think he's determined but you know the uptick in a couple stories. Someone at the fixes you know and and this is just not a good time to be in the legislature right now of Bogota. To be the governor hopefully Q would it matter whether visitor was there governor Edwards whoever. But what we're gonna have to you know face the problem. I think the correct term is we've run out of road to kick the can now we. Can't anymore I don't bureau yes exactly. So what is being proposed to try to alleviate this is raising taxes the only thing that we can do. We we can't not coming there are a lot of Falconer a lot of books. You know contracts and so that we can't cut and there will be a combination of those things. I'm sure there will be but we simply cannot cut our way where we're at right now not between now and the end of June 30. Which is what we have to have the budget balanced they're done not a 140 million dollar budget deficit that you know we inherited from the view previous administration. And you know I'll look at that a legislative orders report today. And I was reading where that if turtle lake effect report we're Jindal of failed to report you know all the incentive program. Which is the money that were given out to a business and stuff for a 2013. And fourteen. The only report that he's required to report in all these programs are the only reporter Bob of the 79 incentive program. Which the Indianapolis you know double or out of compliance. So put them the revenue that we all just here in 2013. And 2014 alone. Sequels to 2.4 billion dollars that's our depth of civil like there. And you say we got to this point because we kept the as everyone says kicking the can down the road wider we continue to do that during the Jindal administration via. Well you know. We appeal to the hospital not covered put the legislature at all you know a lot of information that we got this information there was flooding numbers that would you know be in. Tailback if you went to a department did too little point about Jindal. You know you wouldn't get the correct information that you needed when you would ask he had that exact question genie and ask what they'd just you know withheld information today. So a lot of that you know I haven't voted for the budget spotted by report last year that it was like thirteen or fourteen of the not vote for you could see this common. Delta you know as you know use of one time money for reoccur expenses. You know discount you know so you court does want to pay the bill next more than Indy you have another bill common. Absolutely and that's kind of what we're been deliberately been doing that the last eight years. What do you think are some of the the main areas where some cuts can be done is it is that in the the contracts. I think so the contract and because you know obviously you know their contracts up there that we have would say DO TD. The people who actually workable you know words bridges. And so forth. But their contract as many element out there there plug around the magnificent of all if you read in in the contract a little know how they got all the books. You know we don't approve all the contract the poverty of the movement. In the administration. And optic which currency is the Republican console so all of these contractors killed. And have them come back to the table and reevaluate the contract until want you need. I we're gonna go take a break right here rivers and have have hammered hang on what this was we get to the break we come back. And get lots of text and people call and asking questions to 601870. That line it for you can be in Texas your question. At 8787 and I will ask it and what do you think I mean we've heard of every side some people just want cuts we think we can just cut our way out of it. As representative said. We have a deadline that we got to reach by a certain point and cuts are gonna do it by then so it's got to be a combination of both are you OK with that. That's called compromise will be right back stubby Davila. And welcome back WWL tub and s's and for Garland Robinette are against the this half hour Kenny hammered Louisiana State representative district is 62. And we're talking about the states of financial. Issues and the budget and what they're trying to do and some you're texting some questions. Former senator and an 8787. Willis is Davis is a feel like I'm listening to Obama with a continues story over the previous it's the previous administrations bald. Someone asking why didn't Jindal handle this issue ordain the running for president was his main concern was it. Because he was running for president was and his main concern. If you can answer that you're not governor Jindal. Someone else want to know can the governor be held the financially responsible for this master criminally responsible for this mess if like he says. Like you said you guys and didn't get all the correct information. Well I'm not sure that Obama actually. Would proposed to that question yesterday and will be check around just to see what what we have available to us is forced. We're back in and it look at it that idle idol they Kiki and it would surprise me if that is the case. What about cuts to the salaries of legislators and the governor we get this one a lot. Absolutely. I think if we're gonna ask everybody else to cut in the stayed up all four cutting dark ourselves as well. All right to someone else says why is no one discussing a tax increase on the State's gambling industry. I don't I don't know. You know I've never really thought about that I'm not sure if there's really. If we can do that are not title no one is it's probably not in the cult of the session to debate be. Although that's a good question I just opening to that. Where's the main area that you guys that we talked about the contracts and cutting but is that going to be enough when it comes to cut or programs and services going to have to be cut thought. Aptly would be programs and services cut right now the prisons. The corrections for example if you look at the clothes into proper programs and both of those invites him to. Because you know population of the state facilities. Be they get per Diem rates the private prisons and what would have to do is cut their rates down. To Wear their share of rates would be which is like 24 dollars today. Did they can't do that awarded that in both the public option that is presents and trying to consolidate those inmates in one. Now when we talk about raising taxes in the minute you say that everyone their their hackles develop their all the upset. Is just the one. Penny raise in the sales say is that the only Texas being proposed right now. Right now that would be solely without considering these attacks. It is well there will be back door to lower taxes didn't look at the put maybe a penny he'll be here. And twitches and full tax cigarettes I don't know if that is you know have legs and and can you know past but this forward the general population. It would be or. It would be the ones cigarette tax which is work affect everyone. And that's not the only one you know in you have foreseen that's out there of state sales tax. The committee people more helpful. Some corporations there or corporations have with a look at it do what he's trying to clean up some of those pennies. And remove some of the exemption which is really not to attack. It's taxes already awarded just basically removed from the bench. We want what about. You said only a penny a BO what why not 22 cents on Beers well if you're gonna raise it on cigarettes. Well I'm not sure that she is so what. When would you raise more that way especially when Mardi Gras comes through him. Absolutely not they can do a lot of these go postal if you have stopped for example. It is all about non profits. So they don't pay any federal tax when he about beer. It is one of the couples witnesses are classic or any of those. So you know that's a lot of money a lot of you know beer sales that we can be collected taxes all would you stop but it can be so order a new audience. But more than buy you cup helping you grow up kind of and snicker ordeal played a state sales tax forms that. That's considered and in the constitution. And I think we need to open that up in the what's really food and what's not because of the virtual sports. And you should operate. You know accept this that's pretty you wanted to can be distort. And grab code and you know whatever you grab. Yet patriot. That's not where trees papal court for items they've initiated every couple Wanda Willie and nickel ago. Now I'm in trying to convince my wife that they it is staples. So you you just blown that for complete. So so there are ways to do this where it's it's going to affect everyone everywhere is going to pay their shares of this beat that not. Purchase one or the other more. To do. I think that the best way to do it if we're going to be either do attacks of these be fair tax court everybody plays and they need to be cut. And these you know they give these exemptions need to be across the board will not pick winners and losers. And not think which oversees the tax is gonna have been implicated in the wants and passes it's gonna happen it's gonna be operated basically get a over the hope that it will fall out. And the only chance it has of passing is if there's a drop dead date alternate you know but where we can come back but over the do gradient that. It has to just go away. And I think that's what you gonna sleep but it can be tied to a bunch of stroke troll well budget reforms that Republicans would like this week. So that we can you know it's about port deal for me give you the tax. Then we needed putting stroke or forms and years so we don't end up where we're at right now. Someone the senate Texan said that. You know you mentioned about the festivals and a lot of them are nonprofits and don't. Have to pay taxes on that is there. Any word or thought of changing that rule. There have been some talk. In the in the in that it's possible he's all told that it you know. To be ultimately the dollars worth of revenue. You know let them to play in the dollar put canned beer and so that for six dollars that you you know they can remit. That these authorities say it only can be here. You know. That's just my opinion. I think you know police during the claimed to be non profit from product and nonprofit whether they may be there but completely off. All right to. Anything else you'd like to add to. To talk to people who are concerned about what is actually going on which you guys are are trying to accomplish up their before with a trio can. I think that you know people you know what I look like still people is you know I think you will see about partisan. Eagle effort to try to fix the problem state that we republicans' war would like to see some structural changes in the budget so we don't in the red again. And and when and where will on the hill you know the governor. And administration try to view picks this year shortfall but there have to be a combination of if you go to we're going to. After people pay actors that we need to make sure indignity that people that we don't get in this situation Kia and all the way to do that is was structural reforms. And I think you'll see some of that as well. All right representative however thanks for taking the time with a zero WW I'll try and explain some of the things that you guys are gone through. All right thank you so much all right T 601870. Architects 878 semi coming up the next hour we'll talk to one via business leaders. And again tell us how they're also trying to help. Work and alleviate what is coming up in the budget in the crisis but right now. Let's send it over to our WWL a new studio word Japan's it was standing by lots of severe weather out there. Please be careful out on the roads and will get to the latest coming up right now. And welcome back to WWL Todd and s's in fort Garland Robinette. You're the numbers. And the text every 787 a lot of people texting and right now and can't stress and stress enough if you want and oh. Keep abreast of what's happening what the weather just text the word whether to 87870. And you will get our weather alerts. Texted to you throughout the day and I know a lot of people are texting right now sane dollar overreacting it doesn't look bad out there. It's going to come later today that's what they're saying these winds are going to be there are coming around as you just heard a couple of tornado. Warnings that just happened that just expired but I'm sure there will be more. As the day progresses. Progresses joining us now is bill backs from. A board certified tax specialist and member of the committee of 100 of Louisiana bill thanks for taking time but the here at WWL. Bill first off explain every one what is the committee of 100 of Louisiana. Sure that the committee of 100 it was formed in 1992 it's a private nonprofit. Nonpartisan organizations. And the membership consists of over 200 CEOs of the leading private public companies in Louisiana as well as. Reps in this Louisiana's universities. Of higher learning and the primary focus is to assist the state and to attract advertising industry and that was again. A guy now of course looking at this budget crisis that we are facing right now. I'm sure that's probably putting a damper on bringing in some industry into the state correct. Well I think industry certainly is looking carefully vote industries in Louisiana as well divisions outside Louisiana may be looking command are are looking at at our budget issues right now. And especially folks know what's going on right now the legislature as we speak and how. The legislature is going to respond to these budget issues are both on the short term and long term basis and yet we're epic that spotlight is almost right now. We we just talked to representative. However. Andy was talking about the the one penny sales tax raising the attacks right now sports center is an up to a nickel. Is that enough to. Generate enough revenues to meet the deadline that we have to meet by July. But I think that from everything I've seen in no. Report comes from the legislature report coming from legislate doors. And welcome to the media it seems to be 1% additional sales tax would not be enough to close the current. Fiscal but budget deficit for the fiscal year it is June 30 of sweet sixteen so they'll have to be other. Armed combination of I guess spending cuts as well as perhaps other revenue mattered measures that the legislatures have to look at. Thought about the budget so the one penny will not be quite enough. I'm gonna ask you this question I don't know if you know the answer or not but. How did we get in this mess so bad so quickly. Well then again everything that that I've read from. No normal media as well as the Tax Foundation. Do you look Louisiana revenues study committees did rubbish in the report last year. It's been a long time coming it's not aid is not a short term. We didn't get your short term base to get a long term basis and now we have to start folks in a long term fixes. And I think I know you'll know you've probably. Heard discussion this morning from some of the legislators and others that. That one of the issues that the legislature had to deal with these dedicated funds haven't huge percentage of the arms spending. That at a state level that are dedicated and the legislature can't really address every year I think one of the things Republicans strident. Open those subs has been a long term getting here is gonna take a long time to get it fixed on the ball in for bone permanent basis. Did. Outside contracts. Get us into this area more than anything. And that. I would not be accountable that wouldn't comment. That's just another line out of the spending side and so that's probably focus more on that tax side which is where my expertise as a tax. Well then let me ask you this would have we've raised. Taxes other then the sales tax we've talked about the cigarette tax or when seems to be for that. What if they did attacks on beer and alcohol as well more than what they're proposing so the same as cigarette 22 cents would that. Help. I think you would it be incremental addition it would not be enough took you know make a Big Ten title take from the numbers not saying. And overall budget debt to but it would be one piece of rate of revenue but I think. You know all the tax bottles cigarettes and our special cigarettes they're there's some issues there as to whether or not. And I think other states of experiences they raised their. Tax on cigarettes. Many people go outside the state took to buy the cigarettes and bring a backhand. I don't have the same would happen would with alcohol on the other thing on those cigarettes did and I think they're seeing this around the country is is a bit more more efforts to reduce smoking. Then if you look at that long term basis your revenue streams gonna go down so of course of a decent revenue stream if you. Text cigarettes and other things that are dwindling. What about taxes on and in some people her protecting me and ask me why to we have so many. Nonprofits. That don't pay taxes that do a lot of things that raise money not particularly just heard churches but it. Festivals and so forth and so on. Well that. Those are tax policy decision had been made it both the federal level. And the state and the local level and they apply. Even if they applied the feds could the state changes. The state would have the ability to to change those that they want to change their tax policy of a Texan on you know nonprofits but. For example with respect to property taxes. The exemptions for four property. That are owned by certain non profits test. Imbedded in our constitution to change that would obviously require two thirds vote of both houses of the legislature and also go to people for fun. It's that it would be difficult to get that constitutional amendment changed. If you were distorted posing no bid nonprofits sometimes have sales tax exemptions sometimes they don't. They generally do not pay income taxes franchise taxes but that sort of his biz. A follow up on the federal policy that we would not tax nonprofits and have to make sure that they probably write papers and prove that they are in fact. Armed carrying out they're nonprofit functions in order to retain. They're tax exemption. Millions are you sure breaking in alone surely for second all right. Bill backs from his with a he's a board certified tax specialists a member of medium 100. Of Louisiana will take a break and be right back. Stout and as is in for Garland Robinette your list. And welcome back WW welt evidences in fort Garland Robinette getting some text people saying. Please remind people to turn their headlights on. If it's raining. And they're up they're driving in the wipers are on and also. It is against the law to drive the flashes on he shouldn't be driving with your flasher is on that means you're a your hazards are you should pull to the side of the road if you have clashes on you don't drive through the rain. With your lectures on seek the matter where you're at in the state. Bill things never change in the Louisiana becomes the drivers that could country it's always the same. What's one. Major and I know Europe sizing your board certified tax specialist and member of the committee of 100 Louisiana were talking about. The budget crisis that the Wii's interfaces. Is there one. Magic. Bullet to say one magic tax that we could do that would solve all of this. Know. That it clearly would be no one taxi to solve all this I think. Did you know there's two things an immortal one as the immediate needs. To shore up the budget deficit for the current fiscal year. Then the next one is actually three I guess the next and his band to address them. It projected fiscal oh deficit. For the 201617. Budget year ended the most important when that of the committee of 100 been looking that is. What what we do the long term basis to fix some of those. Structural defects that we talked about earlier that have taken a long time to get here. And and it really is no magic bullet. They can fix all that have to become a nation of looking at corporate income taxes individual income taxes. Sales and use taxes property taxes and all those other excise tax of like. Umbilical and cigarettes and alcohol things like that. What about the and and people always talk about this and bring this up the quote core corporate and I'm putting it in close corporate welfare that the state gives out. The the benefits that they give the states of the tax breaks is that they give to the corporations or should say. Could those be decreased and would that help. Well I did his or her you look at those and I think too early in its initial. I think everyone has to be put that on individual basis but overall. As a matter of tax policy of the legislature determined. That is good tax policy not to attack certain transactions for whatever reason. There in the didn't I think you know it's a good thing and it would cost some money yet substantial cost money to pay less tax but. I don't think those that also is not mom is not that silver bullet you're talking about a moment ago it is just budget crisis does this describe can't be fixed by. I'm just taking away all exemptions all deductions all rebates or credits. Are they they do do they really provide a pivotal role in and bringing business into this state do you think. Well Bob my career has been you know Bob devoted to heavily tax matters primarily for businesses and I can tell you unequivocally. That. Yes tax incentives. Across the country in various states do impact. Corporate decisions on where they locate. Amir of different types of facilities. And so it is competitive out there and business incentives to make a difference there are a lot of other things own. The corporate listed that corporations look at what they're trying to decide where to locate. Their businesses but certainly it hasn't won. Good educational system could work force you know good access to utilities could access to transportation all those things factor into our decision with a look at business. And Louisiana has not been tops and most of those the last couple years. In in somewhat good somewhat not a good. Yeah. So so again this this all affects or is it it's all big it's like a big giant ball of twine it's everything is connected interconnected. And I think a lot of people don't realize. That you can't just is you know I get we're getting text we get comments people call all the time. Well all they need to do Regis at a two cent sales tax to gasoline going out of the state mental solve all the need to do is this all they need to do is cut out all the corporate welfare that. But it but it's not it's got its gonna have to be a combination of a lot of things correct. That's why don't talk about this more about how. When you go to a doctor and it may be treat 11 symptom with one medication but did what did you have to worry about something else they have to treat data district court don't know do you get it right. That's the same thing I think was some of these taxes you can't just isolate old one particular tax or one particular aspect of attacks it has to be this is what. The committee of 100 been looking at has to be a broader look. At that they know establishing a base system overall that's fair is predictable and stable. And this uniform to the extent they can be deported most importantly one that admitted struggle one that you can easily administer. But both these tax administrators and government. As well as the businesses are paying the tax revenue would think the people who side of is that we have a complicated system where self reporting system we filed returns individuals corporations. We file returns that we self report if the system so complicated that you can't happen so unpredictable that you can't follow inaccurate report. Did did it impacts negatively tax collections. All right we'll take our final break in and come back and wrap things up bill hang on purpose is taught in for Garland you listened to WWL. And welcome back to WWL. Bill Baxter ms. with this board certified tax specialist member of the committee of 100 Louisiana bill again asking this because everyone's taxing and asking saying there is what magic bullet. It's legalize and tax marijuana. However is that worked in other states. I have a look at the numbers does not only have. I guess the media. Reported GT does some extra things some states or no they did doesn't it start taxing the unit increased taxes. And now and so did that just a ship detected near increasing taxes. OK so there ego but it could be a bit. Would that solve our budget crisis I don't know. I don't think no I don't know. But I think he goes back to what we talk an earlier time there's really no one magic bullet that means that that in itself is not going to fix things speed short term or long term. That would be just one of the strings wrapped around that big ball on it says there have if it was done. Bill thanks so much any last words you wanna say real quick. I think they'll dim the real thing here is a little bit of patience and we have a but short time to deal with things in the special session to addressed the current budget crisis. But from the committee would understand points. Tax reform does take some time it takes some patients in the studies have been done information there is now time to act the long term basis. All right bill backs from thanks so much for taking time with this and hopefully we get this of salt. Pretty quickly. I'd thank you for coming back we'll talk to one of our channel four whether people let you know how the weather's shaping up here on WWL.