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In The Spotlight

NEW LBP REPORT: Fund diversions erode Louisiana’s safety net

In the two decades since the federal government overhauled America’s welfare system, Louisiana has steadily diverted money meant to help struggling families gain economic security.

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The Daily Dime

Gov. John Bel Edwards celebrated the one-year anniversary of his executive order expanding Medicaid coverage by introducing the public to three of the 378,000-plus Louisianans who’ve gained coverage since July 1.

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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

The goal of tax reform should not just be to stop the bleeding – although that’s important. The goal should be to raise enough revenue to begin reinvesting in programs that can move Louisiana forward and provide families and businesses the stability they need as they plan for the future.

The recommendations from the Task Force on Structural Changes in Budget and Tax Policy are a solid starting point for creating a 21st Century tax system that puts Louisiana’s budget on a more stable and sustainable course. But state policymakers will need to go farther to make sure Louisiana has the revenue it needs to make important investments that lead to shared prosperity.

A preliminary analysis from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows that even if the Legislature agrees to the sales tax and income-tax changes recommended by the task force, Louisiana will still not have sufficient revenue to make the investments needed.

Louisiana faces a $1.5 billion “fiscal cliff” in 2018, when temporary taxes approved in 2015 and 2016 are due to expire. But the recommended sales and income-tax changes would fall short of filling that hole – let alone allow for the reinvestments in education, child care and public safety that are needed to improve our long-term prosperity.

Great communities are ones that have strong schools with good teachers from kindergarten through college, well-maintained streets, highly-trained police and a health care system that provides access for everyone.

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