Leesville Daily Leader - Leesville, LA
  • Amendment four: Managing the budget stabilization 'rainy day' fund

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  • Amendment four on the 2011 general ballot is a vote for managing the budget stabilization "rainy day" fund.
    According to the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR), a vote for the amendment would provide that "if money is withdrawn from the budget stabilization fund, the state must begin to replenish the fund during the second fiscal year after the money was withdrawn."
    A vote against the amendment would leave the statute as it is, which prohibits the state from replenishing the money during the same fiscal year or the following year.
    The stabilization fund was created in 1991 to help the state budget over time. If the state receives a budget surplus, it can transfer money into the fund in case of downturns in the budget.
    The amendment also would prohibit the automatic flow of mineral revenue into the Budget Stabilization fund during the fiscal year that the fund was used and the year thereafter, according to PAR. Deposits would also be limited to one-third of the last withdrawal amount until it is replenished or the fund balance reaches its cap.
    Those for the proposed change say that this amendment could help plan for future budgets and also force the state legislature to replenish withdrawals in a timely manner. Opponents say, however, that the state should repay the debt sooner rather than later and that it is "not good practice."
    PAR also notes that the current law is being challenged as to whether it is unconstitutional.
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