Only a constitutional convention can arrest Louisiana's decline

05 08, 2018 by Chris John | The Daily Advertiser

The Louisiana Legislature is in the midst of another session, facing down the barrel of another fiscal cliff, and there appears to be no reasonable solution.

What if the answer has been right in front of us all along?

Many Louisianans don’t understand how structurally flawed our government actually is. In 1973, a prosperous time for Louisiana thanks in large part to the growth in the oil and gas industry, Louisiana held a Constitutional Convention. The results of that convention bring us to where we are today.

Louisiana’s constitution is simply too complicated. Its framework makes it nearly impossible for lawmakers to maintain an effective state budget.

One of the biggest issues lies in its reliance on dedicated funds, which restrict the ability for legislators to enact budget cuts, leaving only important areas like higher education and healthcare on the chopping block. A Constitutional Convention would allow us to unlock these overreaching dedications and provide an honest look at where reasonable deductions can be made.

For too long, we have been losing jobs and revenue to our thriving neighboring states. A Constitutional Convention could also help make our state more inviting to businesses looking to invest, which we desperately need.

HB 500, a bill recently filed in the legislature, calls for a Constitutional Convention. The bill also requires the convention to be made up of a group of citizen delegates, elected by their fellow Louisianans, in order to remove politics from the process. We need a fresh start in Louisiana. A new constitution, particularly one that hears the concerns and speaks to the needs of the people, may be the best opportunity we have.

Chris John, president, Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association