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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

Medicaid expansion momentum; Edwards and education; Another fee, another fine; and Online doesn’t mean tax free

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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

Amendment 1 misses the mark

Posted on October 15, 2015

By Steve Spires

Louisiana voters will find four proposed constitutional amendments on their Oct. 24 statewide primary ballot. None are more consequential than Amendment 1. The goal of this amendment is laudable: to address Louisiana’s chronic backlog of transportation needs. Unfortunately, it would do so by weakening the state’s rainy-day savings account, which would hurt the state’s ability to react to future financial downturns and put vital state services at risk for damaging cuts.

Voters should reject this amendment.

As the name suggests, the Rainy Day Fund (formally known as the Budget Stabilization Fund) is an emergency fund that the Legislature can tap when the state is facing a temporary revenue shortfall—for example, one caused by an economic downtown or a drop in oil prices—to avoid deep cuts to critical services like higher education, public safety and health care. As the Public Affairs Research Council notes, ratings agencies consider the strength of a state’s rainy day fund when assessing its overall financial health and stability. That means weakening the fund could lead to lower bond ratings, which, ironically, could raise the state’s cost of borrowing money for things like transportation projects. Continue reading…

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