Creating the State we Deserve

Welcome to the 2015 Blueprint Agenda, fundamental public policy solutions to create a stronger, better Louisiana.

Build a Transportation System that Supports Economic Growth

Louisiana’s transportation funding model, which relies almost exclusively on a 20 cents per gallon tax on gasoline and diesel and has not been updated since 1990, does not provide enough recurring money to meet our current transportation needs, much less build the new capacity we need to handle today’s traffic and support Louisiana’s economic expansion. Our current spending only marginally covers annual maintenance of our existing roads and bridges, leading to a well-documented $12 billion backlog of transportation projects. As a result, Louisiana’s roads and bridges are consistently rated among the worst in the United States. Poor road conditions hurt Louisiana’s existing businesses and damage Louisiana’s ability to compete for new businesses in today’s global marketplace.

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Reset Higher Education for Excellence

Recent reductions in state postsecondary education spending combined with the continuing threat of further reductions puts the basic integrity of Louisiana’s higher education enterprise at risk. Louisiana has cut general state support for higher education more than any other state¹.

These cuts are especially worrisome given the economic expansion occurring in Louisiana today that includes an unprecedented level (over $100 billion) of planned new business and industry investment. Louisiana needs a growing workforce of better educated and better trained citizens to support this economic expansion … and Louisiana’s residents deserve an opportunity to pursue the education and training to prepare them to fill the wide array of high-quality jobs opening up across the state.

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Improve Health Care Financing & Services

Louisiana’s working poor and uninsured have recently benefitted significantly from two long overdue breakthroughs in state health care policy. The first was to replace the state’s obsolete fee-for-service Medicaid program with competitive managed care models. The second major accomplishment was the replacement of our antiquated state "charity hospital" system in 2013 with a public-private hospital partnership model customized by region. These changes have improved access to care and produced greater value for the taxpayer’s dollar.

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Address the State’s Structural Budget Deficit

A Structural Budget Deficit: Louisiana has faced large state budget deficits for seven consecutive years, leading Moody’s Investors Service in 2015 to proclaim "Louisiana has a structural deficit." When credit rating agencies (like Moody’s) start saying you have a problem, you have a problem. A structural budget deficit is a persistent annual shortfall of recurring revenues available to pay for recurring expenses, and it does not go away as the state’s economy improves. It returns year after year — an unending cycle of financial crisis. While some hold their collective breath to see if the current fiscal year’s budget remains in balance, the projected deficit for the July 2016 budget year already stands at more than $700 million. In addition, some of the revenue measures passed in the 2015 regular legislative session are set to expire on June 30, 2018 or sooner, further complicating the state’s revenue picture in the out years. In its most recent meeting in August, the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget projects a $1.27 billion deficit for the 2018-19 budget year, reinforcing the notion of year-after-year financial instability.

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