The Louisiana Legislature begins its annual session this week with more than $3 billion in extra cash on hand – money the state can use to build a more inclusive and equitable economic recovery after two years of pandemic and natural disasters.
The Louisiana Budget Project, together with community partners, crafted A Recovery Agenda for Louisiana to provide policymakers with programs and policy solutions that can ensure these dollars get where they are needed most. With the right investments we can build stronger, more resilient homes and communities, train workers for the jobs of tomorrow, ensure young children have safe places to learn and grow while their parents work, and strengthen the safety net for families that fall on hard times.
“Louisiana has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to solve some long standing problems,’’ Louisiana Budget Project executive director Jan Moller said. “But that can only happen if we focus our rebuilding efforts on the communities and people that have suffered the most from the Covid pandemic and natural disasters.”
The Recovery Agenda lays out detailed proposals focused on supporting workers, addressing housing needs, reducing poverty, helping children and making communities more resilient.
The last time that Louisiana policymakers had this much money to spend was in the years following Hurricane Katrina. Instead of investing in families and public goods, they squandered the money with giveaways to big business and tax cuts for the rich. These poor choices led to years of budget cuts that left Louisiana workers and families even further behind.
“We’re not going to see this amount of money come into Louisiana for a long time,” said LBP policy analyst Jackson Voss, the lead author of the Recovery Agenda. “We need to make sure we use it to set the state up for the next decade, but that can only happen if we don’t conduct business as usual.”