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Wednesday, May 06 2015 - 9:54 am

Friends,


A number of bills moved through the House Ways and Means Committee this week.  The importance of these bills is that many of them recapture revenues which can help to alleviate some of the budget problems that exist in the state.

Voting on these bills is difficult for all members because no one wants to be seen as voting for taxes.  As I have said on many occasions, we already have enough revenue coming into the treasury but it is not spent on what I believe are or should be the priorities of this state.

The question remains, should we be incentivizing certain businesses at the expense of higher education?  Should government really be selecting certain businesses to favor with tax incentives at the expense of our colleges and universities? Obviously we may, on occasion, want to incentivize certain businesses when it makes fiscal sense for our state, but it should be a balanced approach.  Any attempt on the Legislature’s part to give away less of our revenue is perceived by the governor as a tax increase and subject to his veto, which makes it virtually impossible to balance the budget.

This week I was able to move my TOPS bill through the Senate and it is now pending action in the House.  Louisiana's TOPS program is probably the best scholarship program in the country.  My bill helps to ensure it will be around for all of our kids and grandkids.  TOPS recipients will not receive any less than they receive today, and can receive more if acted on by the Legislature.  It is a modest proposal, but as Mrs. Phyllis Taylor said in her committee testimony in April, SB48 helps ensure the future of TOPS for each of our kids who qualifies.

Thank you for your words of encouragement and support.  I’ll continue to keep you informed.  Please continue to keep all of us in Baton Rouge in your prayers.


Best,