Wanna See What Happens When You Rely on the Fossil Fuel Sector and Slash Taxes?

Check out Louisiana.
Andrew Cline/Shutterstock

Andrew Cline/Shutterstock

The state of Louisiana has fallen on hard times, and its situation offers some hard lessons. First, don’t let a right-wing ideologue cut your budget to the bone. Second, don’t hang your whole economy on fossil fuel extraction.

The Washington Post reports on the state’s budget crisis:

Already, the state of Louisiana had gutted university spending and depleted its rainy-day funds. It had cut 30,000 employees and furloughed others. It had slashed the number of child services staffers …

And then, the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards (D), came on TV and said the worst was yet to come. …

Despite all the cuts of the previous years, the nation’s second-poorest state still needed nearly $3 billion — almost $650 per person — just to maintain its regular services over the next 16 months. …

A few universities will shut down and declare bankruptcy. Graduations will be canceled. Students will lose scholarships. Select hospitals will close. Patients will lose funding for treatment of disabilities. Some reports of child abuse will go uninvestigated.

For eight years, under former Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.), Louisiana slashed taxes and played tricks to fill budget holes. Jindal claimed that the tax cuts he pushed through would promote miraculous economic growth and make up for the lost revenue. That didn’t work, of course, just as it didn’t work on a national level under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Read the rest at Grist.

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