DALLAS — The largest business lobby in Louisiana will fight Gov. Bobby Jindal’s efforts to loosen constraints on two constitutionally protected state funds.

Dan Juneau, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, sent a letter Tuesday outlining the group’s opposition to constitutional amendments the Republican governor is supporting.

Jindal is backing an effort to allow the use of the budget stabilization fund if federal funds are decreased from the previous fiscal year.

He also supports legislation that would provide for the payment of operating expenses from the interest accumulating in the education quality support fund.

The state’s ratings, which were upgraded last fall, would suffer if the measures were approved, Juneau said.

In the letter, he said filling budget holes with one-time revenues would have a serious impact on Louisiana’s ratings.

“Our bond rating improved greatly when the budget reforms were enacted and has stayed strong through tough times in the past,” he said. “If we revert to budget gimmicks to solve the fiscal problems on the horizon, our bond rating will be in jeopardy.”

“If our bonds are downgraded, our fiscal problems will be greatly exacerbated going forward,” he said.

Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s raised Louisiana’s GO debt to AA-minus from A-plus in October 2009. Moody’s Investors Service retained its A1 rating for Louisiana, but raised the outlook to positive from stable. The state has $5.74 billion of outstanding tax-supported par debt.

The state constitution allows the rainy-day fund to be used only if state revenue falls from the previous year. Senate President Joel Chaisson 2d, D-Destrehan, is sponsoring SB 1 and 2, which would amend the constitution to allow the fund to be used if federal funding for health care and social services are cut.

Three separate bills introduced by Senate Finance Committee chairman Mike Michot, R-Lafayette, would loosen restrictions on the use of the interest generated by the $1 billion of offshore oil and gas revenue currently in the educational enhancement fund known as the 8(g) fund.

Current rules allow the interest to be used only for enhancements to state-supported higher and public education programs.

The revision sought by Michot would allow the state to pay operating expenses from the interest if general fund revenues drop.

Both measures would require approval from voters before going into effect.

Jindal compared restrictions on how the two funds can be used to prohibiting a distressed homeowner from making mortgage payments out of a savings account.

He said voters should have a chance to decide on the proposed changes.DALLAS — The largest business lobby in Louisiana will fight Gov. Bobby Jindal’s efforts to loosen constraints on two constitutionally protected state funds.

Dan Juneau, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, sent a letter Tuesday outlining the group’s opposition to constitutional amendments the Republican governor is supporting.

Jindal is backing an effort to allow the use of the budget stabilization fund if federal funds are decreased from the previous fiscal year.

He also supports legislation that would provide for the payment of operating expenses from the interest accumulating in the education quality support fund.

The state’s ratings, which were upgraded last fall, would suffer if the measures were approved, Juneau said.

In the letter, he said filling budget holes with one-time revenues would have a serious impact on Louisiana’s ratings.

“Our bond rating improved greatly when the budget reforms were enacted and has stayed strong through tough times in the past,” he said. “If we revert to budget gimmicks to solve the fiscal problems on the horizon, our bond rating will be in jeopardy.”

“If our bonds are downgraded, our fiscal problems will be greatly exacerbated going forward,” he said.

Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s raised Louisiana’s GO debt to AA-minus from A-plus in October 2009. Moody’s Investors Service retained its A1 rating for Louisiana, but raised the outlook to positive from stable. The state has $5.74 billion of outstanding tax-supported par debt.

The state constitution allows the rainy-day fund to be used only if state revenue falls from the previous year. Senate President Joel Chaisson 2d, D-Destrehan, is sponsoring SB 1 and 2, which would amend the constitution to allow the fund to be used if federal funding for health care and social services are cut.

Three separate bills introduced by Senate Finance Committee chairman Mike Michot, R-Lafayette, would loosen restrictions on the use of the interest generated by the $1 billion of offshore oil and gas revenue currently in the educational enhancement fund known as the 8(g) fund.

Current rules allow the interest to be used only for enhancements to state-supported higher and public education programs.

The revision sought by Michot would allow the state to pay operating expenses from the interest if general fund revenues drop.

Both measures would require approval from voters before going into effect.

Jindal compared restrictions on how the two funds can be used to prohibiting a distressed homeowner from making mortgage payments out of a savings account.

He said voters should have a chance to decide on the proposed changes.

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