Investing in Louisiana's Families, Communities & Businesses:
Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's Priorities for 2006 December Special Session
As a result of Governor Blanco's aggressive efforts to build a stronger economy and remain fiscally responsible, Louisiana is experiencing a significant budget surplus and now has an unprecedented opportunity to cut taxes, reduce insurance costs, and pay our citizens fair wages. Governor Blanco believes this money belongs to the people of our state and our communities.
Governor Blanco called the special session before the end of the year so Louisiana's families can enter the New Year with tax cuts that will apply to the 06 tax year; we can refund Louisiana Citizens insurance assessments and avert another insurance assessment; enhance our standing in a competitive economic development recruitment effort; and avoid additional inflationary problems in highway costs.
Taking another step toward long-term insurance reform: Louisiana faces an insurance crisis highlighted by rising rates in homeowner's insurance.
LA Citizens Rebate: Governor Blanco called the special session to provide an immediate refund to every homeowner across the state who paid the one-time LA Citizens insurance assessment. This refund check provides immediate relief to consumers. Governor Blanco continues to work with consumer interest groups, insurance companies, re-insurers, and Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon to address the state's need for comprehensive insurance reform.
Catastrophic Insurance Fund: Governor Blanco is setting the stage to provide added relief to homeowners by establishing a catastrophic state fund as a back-stop. An initial appropriation of $100 million will jump start this fund and is a solid long-term investment in our future insurability.
Making an immediate investment in Louisiana's people and Louisiana's families: Governor Blanco proposes $300 million in tax cuts to help Louisiana families and businesses, including:
$50 per child income tax credit
Mortgage interest paid tax credit
Charitable contributions tax credit
Casualty losses tax credit
Medical/dental expenses tax credit
Phase down of the sales tax on business utilities for companies large and small
Investing in our people by providing
Additional $2,100 a year for public teachers to make Louisiana's teacher pay competitive with the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) average
Additional faculty pay raises
Additional $750 for school support personnel
Additional $125 a month for police, fire, and sheriff's deputies
Additional $1,500 a year for state workers
Average 20% increase for corrections, probation, and parole officers
Providing $300 million in an economic development fund to attract a durable manufacturing facility.
Providing Health Care Reform dollars to ensure our citizens have access to affordable care.
Ensuring strong communication in times of emergency. Governor Blanco will do this by investing $20 million in interoperability for state and local law enforcement.
Governor Blanco plans to strategically invest the one time fiscal year 05-06 surplus in accordance with the constitution. Her plan is
$400 million for roads
$200 million UAL (resulting in an estimated $1 billion in UAL savings)
$100 million Category A and B local assistance
Balance on infrastructure investments