Dear Editor: Bring in financial experts to help with state budget surplus

Judy Ledet
May 14, 2007
Jill Lyons
May 16, 2007

We’ve all heard stories about lottery winners who broke shortly after hitting the jackpot. When people come into a lot of money but do not proceed with the proper financial planning, what could have been a blessing ends up a disaster.

The same thing can happen to Louisiana if we don’t get solid financial advice from experts on our state’s current abundance of riches. We are experiencing an unprecedented surplus due in part to disaster recovery dollars pouring into the state. We do not want this windfall to be our downfall.

Several studies have shown that hurricanes have an initial positive impact on states’ economies due to job growth and reconstruction expenditures made possible by insurance payments and federal disaster funds. Economists and university faculty who have studied this trend include William Gillespi, David G. Lenze, Carol T. West and Bradley T. Ewing, just to name a few.

Louisiana should call on these experts and others to help us define the long-term financial impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita so that we can better manage our surplus funds. With the proper planning now, we can turn these disasters into a blessing for our state.

John Kennedy

State Treasurer