The Louisiana Budget Project released the following statement on the proposed 2019-20 state budget:

“The governor’s proposed budget is a responsible starting point that makes long-overdue new investments in K-12 education, while maintaining the historic gains Louisiana has made in health insurance coverage. It uses revenue we know will be available to ensure that Louisiana’s decade-long cycle of fiscal uncertainty and weakening public support for vital services such as higher education has finally been broken.

“But this budget blueprint is just a starting point. It cannot be implemented until the Revenue Estimating Conference breaks its current deadlock and recognizes the revenue that non-partisan state economists are forecasting. It also does not include adequate funding to support a list of critical needs in the public safety net including early childhood education, need-based college aid, mental health care and home-care services.

“The only way to address these and other unmet needs is for legislators to reform Louisiana’s inadequate and convoluted tax structure, which lets the richest households pay taxes at far lower rates than families that struggle to get by. The upcoming legislative session is designed to focus on fiscal issues, and LBP encourages Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Legislature not to let tax reform wait for another two years.”