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In The Spotlight

The State of Working Louisiana

After years of decline and stagnation, the median wage in Louisiana rose 39 cents from 2012 to 2014 to $15.63 an hour, and Louisiana added 54,000 jobs over that time. More Louisianans had jobs than ever before, and wages for women gained ground on their male counterparts. Unfortunately, that is where the good news ends.

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The Daily Dime

Revenue session starts Sunday; Budget hawks or chicken hawks?; Our biggest public policy mistake; Debt recovery office is bureaucratic nightmare

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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 Grace Reinke

The Legislature will soon start the long process of patching up the state’s bleeding budget. With a mid-year deficit of at least $700 million and a $1.9 billion shortfall for the next fiscal year, it is clear that a cuts-only approach will simply not work. But 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 CreditEITC uodated graphic

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards has laid out a broad menu of revenue-raising ideas to fix Louisiana’s long-term structural budget gap, including some long-overdue reforms to the state personal and corporate income tax structure. But legislators have far fewer options when it comes to plugging the mid-year budget gap, since most changes in tax policy wouldn’t bring in revenue quickly enough to help the state pay the bills that are due by June 30.

One exception to this is the state sales tax, and that’s a major reason why Edwards has proposed a 1-cent increase in the 4-cent sales tax. If the Legislature agrees to the change, it would raise an estimated $216 million in the current budget year and more than $900 million next year. But if the Legislature refuses to go along, the alternative is deep cuts to public colleges and health-care services for the state’s most vulnerable residents. Continue reading…

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