State lawmakers on Thursday will tackle the issue of how to cover a $200 million hole in the current year state budget. Tapping Louisiana's so-called Rainy Day fund is the topic of this week's Commentary by Eyewitness News political analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos.

Clancy DuBos / Eyewitness News Political Analyst

The weather outside may be sunny and hot, but at the state Capitol, it's raining red ink.

The state's official revenue forecasters say Louisiana will be more than $200 million short this fiscal year and more next year. Each fiscal year begins July 1. That means lawmakers have only a month to cover that $200 million hole.

The solution that Gov. Bobby Jindal and many state senators prefer is the right one: tapping the state's so-called Rainy Day Fund. That fund exists for times like this. It provides the money to keep public hospitals and universities open and to prevent massive layoffs and cuts in services.

State Sen. Jack Donahue, R-Covington, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, tells me that the state cannot lay off enough people in the next 30 days to cover that $200 million hole. He's right.

Folks, Louisiana has had an annual budget crisis for decades. This story is so old it has cobwebs. But, when fiscal hawks say it's time to tap the Rainy Day Fund, the state needs to grab its umbrella.


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