The Louisiana Legislature began its 2022 session with an historic opportunity to make long-overdue investments in the Pelican State’s people and communities. A combination of surplus dollars, federal pandemic relief money and a surge in state tax collections left legislators with unprecedented amounts of revenue to distribute among Louisiana’s many needs. Lawmakers used the extra cash to give modest raises to teachers, college faculty and some low-paid state workers and to spend heavily on transportation projects and other infrastructure needs. But legislators also missed a rare opportunity to give back some of the windfall revenue to families that need help. The Louisiana Budget Project recaps it all in The 2022 Legislature: A windfall session.
“The 2022 legislative session should be remembered for the historic investments that were made in transportation and education programs,” LBP Executive Director Jan Moller said. “And legislators rightly resisted the temptation to use the state’s strong revenue picture as an excuse to cut taxes. But there were also some major missed opportunities to help the people and communities most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters.”
While no one knows exactly where Louisiana’s economy is headed, state economists predict that revenues have peaked in the 2021-22 fiscal year, and will decrease slightly in the coming years. If Louisiana wants to continue making the kinds of investments in education, health care and infrastructure that they did this session, they must find ways to replace the revenue that is being lost by reforming our state’s tax structure to make it less regressive and more fair, adequate and sustainable.