Louisiana’s economy works best when it works for everyone – when all citizens, regardless of their race or ZIP code, have the opportunity to reach their highest potential. This can only happen when everyone has access to good schools with highly qualified teachers, safe communities with good roads and public transit and a strong safety net to help people when they fall on hard times.

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.

This translated to pay raises for public school teachers, college faculty and some health-care workers. It meant significant new funding for colleges and universities, an $84 million investment in early childhood education and new dollars for literacy programs in public schools.

After financing ongoing programs in the state operating budget, legislators were left with more than $3.6 billion in extra cash – money that’s not needed to pay for ongoing government expenses such as health care and education – that could be spent with few restrictions.

Legislators used that money to make major new investments in transportation and coastal restoration, paid back the federal government for costs associated with natural disasters and made some overdue investments in education, including early childhood.