About 300,000 low-income families in Louisiana will begin receiving summer feeding benefits on Friday. The federal Summer EBT program will provide families with an extra $120, per child, to buy food during the summer break. The benefits, which will be administered through the Louisiana SUN Bucks program, will start with children who currently receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The Times Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate’s Sophia Bailly has more details: 

State officials will load the additional benefits onto families’ SNAP cards. The program will issue benefits in phases, and other program users will receive their EBT cards in the mail when their benefits begin. Next in line to receive funds are children who received Medicaid or free or reduced lunch last year, or other federal assistance. Those students will receive their benefits in the next few weeks. Families who do not receive the aforementioned forms of aid need to fill out applications on the state’s Louisiana SUN Bucks website

The federal government urgently needs to raise more revenue to address a massive budget deficit and looming financial crunch for Medicare and Social Security. More tax dollars will also be needed to make crucial investments in citizens. A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities elaborates: 

To meet our commitments to seniors, make high-value investments that will improve well-being and broaden prosperity, and improve our fiscal outlook, we must raise more revenue. Simply put, we cannot meet 21st-century needs with past levels of revenue. As a first step, policymakers should use the scheduled expiration of most provisions of the 2017 tax law in 2025 as an opportunity to bolster the revenue base, not erode it by failing to pay for any tax cuts that are extended and potentially adding still more tax cuts for corporations and high-income households on top.[1]

The report’s authors explain how previous tax cuts have weakened revenue collections and shouldn’t guide future decisions: 

Tax cuts enacted during the Bush and Trump administrations have substantially increased the nation’s deficits and debt. We estimate that if the Bush tax cuts and their extensions and the 2017 Trump tax cuts had not been enacted, the deficit would be less than half its current size, and the debt ratio would be considerably lower as well: 56 percent of GDP in 2024, compared to the actual 91 percent.

Gov. Jeff Landry has signed legislation that will give him more control over the state ethics board. Sen. Blake Miguez’s Act 591 will become law despite Landry recently being reprimanded by the board for not disclosing private flights and using campaign funds to pay car loans. The governor is also still in negotiations with board members over another alleged ethical lapse. The Louisiana Illuminator’s Julie O’Donoghue reports

Miguez’s new law expands the size of the ethics board from 11 to 15 members, with nine appointed by the governor and six appointed by lawmakers. … Perhaps the greatest change from the current ethics law is that the governor and lawmakers will get to select board members directly, rather than picking them from a nomination list compiled by people intentionally removed from state politics.

Louisiana’s flagship university quickly backpedaled on its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion after Republicans took power in Baton Rouge. GOP lawmakers then targeted DEI programs at public colleges and universities during the recently concluded legislative session. In what’s becoming a common occurrence, Louisiana’s anti-DEI efforts are part of a broader, national agenda on culture wars. Stateline’s Erika Bolstad reports

“This is a national agenda,” [Utah state Rep. Angela] Romero said in an interview. “It’s a machine and it’s been going for a while and it’s picking up momentum.”Utah’s rollback is among dozens of simultaneous efforts to scale back DEI programs — to varying degrees — in state capitals and on higher education oversight boards in other Republican-led states. In at least 22 states, the legislature has enacted legislation, or public universities have set policies prohibiting or modifying DEI measures at state university systems, according to a running tally in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Programming note: Invest in Louisiana will be closed tomorrow in observance of Juneteenth. The Daily Dime will return to inboxes on Thursday.

66% – Percentage of Louisiana residents who believe climate change contributed to instances of unusual heat in their communities over the past year. (Source: Louisiana Survey)