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In The Spotlight

A stronger EITC can mitigate sales tax increase

As lawmakers consider their options for raising necessary revenues, they should make sure that low-income and working Louisianans aren’t disproportionately hurt by any tax increases. The best way to do that is to expand Louisiana's Earned Income Tax Credit.

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The Daily Dime

The Legislature wrapped up its business for the years at 11:15 p.m. Thursday by passing a supplemental budget bill that distributes $263 million in new revenue among a variety of programs and services. That’s less than half the money Gov. John Bel Edwards sought when he called lawmakers into a special session.

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The Daily Dime is a summary of the day's news stories related to the state budget and issues that affect low- and middle-income individuals and families, compiled every business day by Louisiana Budget Project staff.

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Our Two Cents

By Jan Moller

The three sessions that comprised the 2016 Louisiana Legislature should be remembered as much for what was accomplished as what wasn’t. While elected officials raised enough revenue to avoid the most serious cuts, they left major holes in the budget that will impact students from kindergarten through college and sets back the state’s efforts to reform its criminal justice system.

Perhaps more importantly, legislators failed to make the long-term structural reforms needed to put Louisiana’s budget back on solid footing. That means the work of building a more fair and sustainable revenue and budget structure must continue next year, as many of the revenue measures that were passed in 2015 and 2016 come with expiration dates. The Legislature didn’t fix Louisiana’s fiscal problems so much as it bought some time for real reforms to be made.

2018 cliff

Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Legislature deserves credit for ending the pernicious practice of balancing the budget using “one-time” dollars that have no replacement source in future years. The 2015-16 budget was built with $826 million in one-time dollars, which contributed greatly to the initial $2 billion shortfall in the fiscal year that starts July 1. Next year’s budget is free of such “funny money,” and represents a more honest balance between revenues and expenses.

To read the rest of the commentary, click here.

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