Two reform bills included in last week's budget compromise are intended to tighten Louisiana's state budgeting process.
The package of procedural measures was proposed by a group of some 30 conservative Republicans in the House known as the Fiscal Hawks who oppose the use of one-time revenues for recurring state expenses.
House Bill 437, sponsored by Rep. Lance Harris, leader of the Republicans in the House, requires the Revenue Estimating Conference to certify revenues as recurring before the Legislature can use the money for recurring expenses.
One-time revenues are restricted to reducing state debt, highway construction, state capital outlay projects, coastal protection, and the rainy day fund.
"I'm trying to empower the Legislature," Harris said when he presented the bill to the House Appropriations Committee in early April. "We need a budget that says one plus one equals two. We need to have real hard numbers."
Rep. Brett Geymann, a Republican from Lake Charles who heads the Fiscal Hawk faction, won approval of House Bill 620, which divides the budget into discretionary and non-discretionary spending.
The two bills were passed initially by the House as constitutional amendments, but the Senate Finance Committee amended them into two-year statutory programs.
They were adopted in the compromise agreement without the two-year limit in the Senate version. Both bills were sent to Gov. Bobby Jindal on June 6.
The $25.4 billion fiscal 2014 budget bill adopted by the Legislature as the Legislature adjourned June 6 included $80 million of one-time money, down from $525 million in the executive operating budget proposed by Jindal in March.