In A Flash

Louisiana legislators postpone revenue estimating deadline to squeeze out another of unemployment benefits

By: - September 29, 2020 9:37 pm
Louisiana Capitol Building

(Photo by Julie O’Donoghue)

Louisiana’s lawmakers are faced with a nearly-depleted unemployment trust fund and laws that trigger automatic tax hikes to replenish the fund. They’re also staring at a looming statutory deadline to estimate next year’s revenue. Faced with that dilemma, state legislators on Tuesday chose to move that statutory deadline to buy themselves more time and to maintain the current amount of weekly payouts received by unemployed residents for a little over a month.

“There’s no silver bullet to fix this,” Senate President Page Cortez said during Tuesday afternoon’s meeting of the Revenue Estimating Conference.

The Louisiana Legislature is required to make a projection of next year’s revenue by Sept. 30 of each year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had drastic effects on the government’s unemployment insurance trust fund. If legislators were to adopt the current lower projection of next year’s revenue, it would result in higher taxes on employers and lower weekly payouts to unemployed residents.

At Tuesday’s meeting, legislators chose to postpone the deadline to no later than 10 days after the end of the current special session. With the added time, legislators hope to pass resolutions that would suspend the automatic tax hikes, borrow money from the federal government, or shift money into the unemployment fund from other sources of revenue.


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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Among his recognitions are McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association. Muller is an alumnus of Jesuit High School and the University of New Orleans and is a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Louisiana with his wife and two sons.