Local and federal politics are regular topics of conversation. If you watch TV or follow social media, it is, as the saying goes, “in your face.” Some days, we all just have had enough already! Other days, we really need to pay attention and be informed. If you call the state budget crisis “politics”, in a way it is, but it does affect us all.
The people who run for and get elected to serve in any level of government hold high levels of responsibility. Their decisions impact lives, for some, at a basic level. The governor, state senate and state representatives are in the hot seats today. The state budget crisis has been a hot topic at recent Governmental Affairs and Board meetings at our Chamber. While the state budget is a very complicated issue with lots of moving parts, the business leaders that are at our tables are carefully listening to our legislators to determine what we as a Chamber can do to encourage their right decisions to resolve the crisis. No matter what programs or benefits that get cut or what taxes may be raised, our intention is to support our legislators as they grapple with the difficult options.
During any legislative session we rely on various partners who have more resources than we do to research the budget and issues before we study them and potentially take any formal position. We have wrestled with the difficult choices to support, for example, the “clean penny” increase in state sales tax. It seems to be the simplest solution to raise one of the larger amounts of added income. But it is not simple, and it is not an issue that came near a vote in our board room, nor, as of this writing, in any other prominent business organization’s board room. At least, not yet.
So we are encouraging our members and all citizens to check out LABI’s (Louisiana Association of Business & Industry) Budget Basics if you want to better understand what is going on in Baton Rouge during this special session, to be truly informed of the facts. We will be sharing this with our members and on our Facebook page. As other information becomes available, or what is considered to be valuable conclusions to share with our legislators, that will be shared as well.
In the meantime we do have a local election on March 5, including the elections for Mandeville and Madisonville mayor and council candidates, and the long-awaited vote of the people on parish council term limits. Our position is “VOTE YES” for term limits, and always, always VOTE in every election. Every election’s results can affect you.