In the News: June

It’s been an exciting and busy few weeks around the Louisiana Budget Project. The Legislative session ended. Our office moved to downtown Baton Rouge. And the Affordable Care Act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime, we weighed in on everything from the health care reform law, the growing cost of tax exemptions, the fiscal impacts of repealing the Stelly plan, and the recent controversy regarding flex fuel tax credits.

After lawmakers adjourned for the year on June 4, LBP summed up the three-month session in a new report, “2012 Legislative Session Wrap Up: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” While the session brought new rounds of cuts to critical state services, it came with a ray of hope as policymakers also agreed to take a fresh look at the hundreds of exemptions, credits and other loopholes that riddle the state tax code. LBP has been calling for such a review for several years, and is encouraged that the issue will finally get a thorough hearing. The Lake Charles American Press, citing a statistic from our research, wrote an editorial agreeing that Louisiana’s tax exemption budget needs more scrutiny.

When the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act in late June, LBP quickly released a statement encouraging Louisianans to come together and begin the work of implementing these important reforms. LBP’s health care analyst, Steve Spires, was cited by several media outlets explaining the benefits of health care reform, including WRKF-FM and WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge.

The Monroe News Star, and Baton Rouge Business Report also mentioned LBP’s reaction to the decision. Here is an excerpt from the News Star:

“The Medicaid expansion is especially important for the ‘working poor,’ who currently have jobs that offer either unaffordable insurance or none at all,” said Jan Moller, director of the Louisiana Budget Project. “Expanding Medicaid will ensure that low-income families will no longer have to put off seeking needed medical care or risk financial ruin if they get sick.”

Spires also appeared on Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s “Louisiana: The State We’re In” alongside U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy and state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson discussing what health care reform means for Louisiana. Watch the discussion here.

For media updates posted daily, check “In the News.”

They include details about safety-net programs like Medicaid, tax credits for low-income workers and educational scholarships and help promote a better understanding of how safety-net programs affect different communities across our state.
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