Edwards responds to surplus critics who say the .45 percent sale tax wasn't necessary

Jim Hanzo
September 19, 2019 - 1:11 pm



Governor John Bel Edwards says the estimated 500-million-dollar surplus for the last fiscal year is evidence Louisiana’s economy is doing well.

Critics say the surplus is evidence that the .45 percent sale tax pushed by the governor in 2018 was not necessary.  But Edwards countered by saying that at the time estimates underrated the state economy, but that changed after a year of economic growth.  
"The economy performed better than the economists thought it would, and that’s a good thing” said Edwards.

Edwards talked about a reoccurring theme for his tenure. 

“We know how debilitating and destabilizing deficits are going to be because we had them year after year after year after year under Governor Jindal,” said Edwards.

The Revenue Estimating Conference is responsible for making the official revenue forecasts which determines how much the state can spend.

Edwards says the economic windfall is a positive because it allows the state to begin investing in long-overdue projects.

“It allows us to tackle some big needs, for example, we are doing some record coastal restoration projects, we need to, and we can do those with surplus dollars,” said Edwards.  “Transportation projects, you can do those with surplus dollars.”

The money can also be used for campus maintenance work, or to pay down state retirement liability.

The Governor that another bonus of receiving a larger than expected surplus is that the state can begin replenishing the savings account that was drained during the Bobby Jindal administration.  

“We have to put at least 25 percent in the rainy day fund, which by the way when we put that 25 percent in the rainy day fund, that 125 million dollars, the fund will have more in it than it did when I became Governor,” Edwards said. 

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