By John Guidroz at 

The special legislative session ending prematurely and lawmakers failing to pass any revenue measures to fix the $994 million budget hole wasn’t a surprise to State Treasurer John Schroder. 

During a Ports Association of Louisiana meeting in Lake Charles on Tuesday, Schroder said people don’t want to pay taxes because they have lost trust in their politicians and business leaders, along with the budget process. He said state government spends more money than it actually has. 

“We spend every dime we have and every dime we think we’re going to have,” Schroder said. “We cannot survive; it’s impossible.” 

A former state representative, Schroder said state government is growing by 9 percent, while the economy is growing at 3 percent.

Personal income is growing by 1.5 percent. 

“If my business looks like this, I’m out of business,” he said. “If we don’t figure out how to reverse this trend, we’re in trouble.” 

The special session ending without any solutions may be a good thing because state lawmakers will have to decide which cuts to make during the regular session, Schroder said. 

‘We spend every dime we have and every dime we think we’re going to have. We cannot survive; it’s impossible.’

“All we talk about is raising revenue,” he said. “Nobody wants to get rid of their own kingdom.” 

He said most people aren’t aware of the estimated $300 million Louisiana is expected to get in state income taxes because of the federal tax reform. 

Schroder said the Legislature may end the regular session early and hold another special session to address the shortfall. Tax measures can’t be considered during the regular session. 

He said he doesn’t support renewing the penny sales tax hike that state lawmakers approved in 2016.

 “We put it as temporary to force government to live within its means,”

Schroder said. “Until you force them, it’s not going to happen.”

If he were governor, Schroder said he would ask to “undedicate every dollar in state government.” Most of the state budget includes dedicated funds, leaving higher education and health care to bear the brunt of cuts during budget deficits.

Schroder said he would like to take a portion of the money collected for unclaimed property and create a fund that could support infrastructure over the long-term. He also called for more transparency in state government.

 “If you knew how every dime is spent, you would start seeing some spending habits change,” he said.

 Schroder said a constitutional convention isn’t necessary to fix the state’s budget problems. But he said he would support one because the state doesn’t “have the political wherewithal to fix it on our own.”

 “We’ve tried it the other way, and it hasn’t worked,” Schroder said.