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PAR Basics 2017

For years the Legislature had been approving programs that resulted in new long-term costs. Tax credit programs are an example. The inventory, horizontal drilling and motion picture tax credits combined grew from an approximately $150 million cost in 2004 to $775 million in 2014. The three credits have decreased in value since then. A $250 million program to construct buildings for community and technical colleges across Louisiana – outside the normal capital outlay process – resulted in new facilities for many legislative districts but also created new debt payment obligations for years to come. Some of the building projects have been delayed to stem costs.
Money has been siphoned from trust funds to pay for operational expenses. The Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly, which was filled with a windfall of federal dollars more than a decade ago as a cushion for nursing homes and other services, was raided of more than $800 million until nearly depleted. The Medical Assistance Trust Fund and the Artificial Reef Development Fund were tapped but later were granted constitutional protection by Louisiana voters. The Transportation Trust Fund, dedicated to financing roads and other transportation infrastructure, forfeited $40 million annually in the late Jindal years to cover operational and retirement expenses for State Police. These funds are no longer offering easy money for the state operating budget.

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