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The Economy and The Upcoming 2009 Legislative Session PDF Print E-mail
Friday, December 12 2008 - 12:55 pm

 

Hello My Friends:

As you see every day, the Economic Situation is worsening.  To me the most concerning thing is that the people in the Government who "supervised" the actions of the likes of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the same ones who are deciding what corrective action to take.  Most of these people know only one thing – politics.  Many of them have never been in business or even worked in a business but have been "public servants" all their lives.  It doesn’t make me feel good.

Locally our economy is doing better than most states, but even in Louisiana, there are telltale signs of economic problems.  The precipitous price drop in oil does not bode well for our state.  Every $1 drop in the cost of a barrel of oil costs the state about $12 million in revenue.  The present forecast for 2009-2010 contains a figure of $72/barrel for oil.  Oil right now is in the $40/barrel range.  The State Deficit at the $72/barrel price is $1.2 billion.  You can do the math, but with oil at $40, I come up with an additional deficit of $300 million.  That means our overall deficit could be closer to $1.5 billion.  Many of you will remember that during the campaign that I was very concerned about the overspending on the part of the state, and that problem is about to be crystallized for all to see.  We will now be forced to cut the size of the state government down to something that we can afford.  

Because much of the state’s Spending Is Mandated, there are only two places to cut – shamefully, it is Higher Education and Healthcare.  It is no wonder that Louisiana rates last nationally in both of those areas because we as a state have decided that everything else is more important.  That philosophy needs to change also.

The upcoming Regular Session in April of ’09 is one where only fiscal matters can be addressed.  This rule is preempted by allowing five bills, on any subject matter, by each legislator.  Our delegation has met and we will be introducing legislation that stops public bodies from using the Roll-Forward provisions of our laws to continuously increase taxes without a vote of the people.  We are particularly concerned about non-elected boards rolling forward.

As a delegation, we have invited and are receiving visits from the different Cabinet Members of the Jindal Administration.  We have already had visits from Secretaries Levine, Ankner and Moret.  Commissioners Davis and Pastorek are also scheduled to visit.

The Northshore Federation of Legislators (NFL) has requested and will be meeting with the Governor this month to talk about developing the I-12 Corridor and trying to get a better response from DOTD District 62 on our area problems.

Please let me know if you have any legislation that you think should be introduced to help this state.  I would love to hear from you.

For the blessings of our land, the strength of our faith, and the gift of friendship, we are truly thankful.  Merry Christmas!

JOHN (JACK) DONAHUE, JR. P.E.
SENATE DISTRICT 11