The Louisiana Legislature has yet to articulate a solution to the so-called fiscal cliff that awaits the state next year, the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana says in its new commentary on the ongoing legislative session.
And with the session already at the halfway point and lawmakers unable to reach a consensus on a new fiscal framework, another temporary fix could be the solution for dealing with the state’s current fiscal needs.
“Although the immediate state budget challenge for fiscal year 2018 is more manageable than in recent years, the current session could end with little definition about how the state plans to improve its long-term finances, its credit rating or its economic development position,” the PAR commentary says. “This situation would not be healthy for the state or the government’s capacity for providing needed public services in future years.”
PAR writes that the primary responsibility for the state’s 2018 budget and the fiscal cliff lies with the House Ways & Means Committee and its counterpart in the Senate.
And though a month is left in the session and all relevant bills are still under consideration, the House committee is still on the spot to handle the state’s pending fiscal issues, PAR writes. “Even if no overarching new fiscal structure can be put in place with the short time remaining in this session, legislators and the governor should take steps that show progress in that direction,” the organization says. “The Ways & Means Committee and other deeply engaged legislators have an opportunity to make major reforms along the lines the state task force recommended. Short of that, they still could address the challenges of the cliff, the unnecessary uncertainties and the future fiscal climate.”