Warning: Given our state’s wasteful political track record, this list might not surprise you too much. But at the very least, you will come away from reading it pretty fired up. If not, you’re either dead, not a taxpayer, or a Duck Dynasty cast member. Here are 5 really stupid ways Louisiana has spent your money:
1. Financial support for Uncle Si and his fam
Now I love Duck Dynasty as much as the next person, but this is ridiculous: Our great state has decided that, of all the poor and needy families in Northeast Louisiana, the one with the highly successful hunting accessory business and hit show on A&E is most deserving of a government handout. According to this story published earlier in the summer, the states doles out about $70,000 per episode to each Duck Dynasty cast member, even though they already make around $200,000 an episode.
2. Construction “projects”.
According to a story in the Times-Picayune, a study found that states with higher levels of corruption (ahem… that’s us!) spend more money on state-funded construction projects because they offer more opportunities for elected officials to take personal advantage of public money. Earlier this year, Louisiana lawmakers passed a $5.6 billion construction budget, which includes $400 million more in projects than we as a state can afford.
3. Supporting Louisiana’s growing population of hungry dead people
For two reasons, I really wish this was not true: According to recent study by the LA Legislative Auditor, $1.3 million in aid money went to pay for food benefits for people who had already died. Granted, given Louisiana’s elected officials’ reputations for decision making, they aren’t really strong in the “We’re Smart” department, but anyone we elect into office should know that people do not need to be fed after they’ve died. Either our representation is inept, or zombies are real. Neither are not ideal situations.
4. One of Louisiana biggest industries – prison.
In Louisiana, when prison doors shut, the sound they make is “CHA CHING!!!” Prisons are big money in this state. Now, you may be thinking, “Hey! This isn’t a waste of money. We have more prisoners per capita than anywhere else in the US/world!” While you’re right that we do need more money than most states to keep our status as the world leader in incarceration rate, consider this: At, $38.50 a day, Louisiana spends the least per prisoner than any other state in the nation. This begs the question: where is the money actually going? (By the way, how messed up is it that we incarcerate 5 times more people per capita than Iran?)
5. Money paid just to interest is flat-out ridiculous.
For the fiscal year 2014, Louisiana spent over $1.3 billion in debt interest. That is 3.07% of all gross public debt and, in comparison about twice that of our neighbors Texas and Mississippi.