Professor Jim Richardson Ends 30 Years of Service to the Louisiana Revenue Estimating Conference
December 18, 2018
BATON ROUGE - Professor Jim Richardson of the Public Administration Institute at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business is ending 30 years of service as the private economist on the Louisiana Revenue Estimating Conference, the panel with the constitutional authority and responsibility to provide official revenue estimates for the state.
“I have enjoyed working with six different governors and numerous Presidents of the Senate and Speakers of the House, of both political parties and a variety of political perspectives,” says Richardson, adding “I respect the work that they do and the effort that they make on behalf of the state and its citizens.”
The Revenue Estimating Conference, or REC, is one of six areas within the Louisiana House of Representatives House Fiscal Division whose mission is “to enhance the legislative process by serving as a consistent, professional, and nonpartisan resource to all House members through accurate and objective research, analysis, bill drafting, and quality committee staffing in order to foster informed decisions on fiscal matters,” according to the Division website. The REC prepares initial and revised estimates of money to be received by the state general fund and dedicated funds for the current and next fiscal years which are available for appropriation.
“As the state’s flagship university, it is our duty to provide the type of service and expertise to the state that Dr. Jim Richardson has provided for the last 30 years,” said LSU President F. King Alexander. “Serving on the Revenue Estimating Conference is an important role that LSU doesn’t take lightly. The experience and proficiency we have at LSU in the areas of economic development, industry trends and revenue forecasting are second to none.”
Richardson has been a part of the REC since the day it started.
“The REC was created in 1987 as a method of having the revenues to be available to be spent in the upcoming fiscal years to be determined by the best economic data available and to get away from just creating a number that balanced the proposed budget at the beginning of the fiscal year, but not necessarily at the end of the fiscal year,” he said.
When asked if politics had an impact on the workings of the Conference, Richardson said, "The REC has worked fairly well in taking the politics out of the forecasting of revenues,” but adding “The state incurred substantial deficits for three years in a row because of projecting revenues based on political compromise as opposed to realistic economic trends, leaving the state with a true cash flow problem.”
Richardson said that there is a place in the process for politics.
“There will always be and should be political discussions about how much the state should spend, but how much the state has to spend given the current tax structure is not a political decision, but rather a projection on what the economy and the other factors affecting the revenue streams will do,” he explained.
Richardson’s service to the REC reflects the E. J. Ourso College of Business’ commitment to fostering economic development and industrial growth.
“One of the responsibilities of a major university is to provide assistance to local, state, or national governments - some of these responsibilities may just be to suggest ideas and different ways of doing things - other responsibilities may be more technical such as providing forecasting expertise and the REC is one way in which LSU has been asked to provide forecasting expertise,” Richardson said.
Richardson’s service will be missed.
"We are deeply grateful that Dr. Jim Richardson combined his professional expertise and impartiality in unwavering service to our state. He is the gold standard and we have our work cut out for us in finding a slate of candidates that can ably carry on his legacy of service," said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed.
The Louisiana Board of Regents said that the Commissioner of Higher Education will consult with Regents members and higher education officials to finalize an appropriate process for soliciting candidates and vetting them thoroughly. According to law (LA R.S. 39:22), a final list of three to five candidates with revenue forecasting expertise will be submitted by the Board of Regents after consultation with the President of the Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Stanton McNeely. The Commissioner intends to engage both the public and private higher education system presidents in the process as well.
Richardson feels that his contribution was sticking to economic issues.
“When it comes to making the best estimate of revenues to be derived in the forthcoming fiscal year, the issue is not about political philosophy but rather it is about economic fundamentals,” he said. Of his replacement and that person’s role on the REC, Richardson said that “the economist on the REC has to provide the economic fundamentals and the other members of the REC have been very willing to listen and to accept these economic realities.”
Though retiring from his service to the REC, Richardson is still serving in all other
capacities with other governmental agencies as well as his continuing role in the
Public Administration Institute.
About the Public Administration Institute
The Public Administration Institute at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business offers a 45-hour degree program that emphasizes management and financial skills for those leading public agencies, nonprofit, and health care organizations and for-profit organizations that interact with governmental agencies. PAI’s faculty members are student-oriented and nationally recognized for their expertise in their fields. For more information, visit lsu.edu/business/pai or call 225-578-6743.
About the E. J. Ourso College of Business
Since its establishment in 1928, the E. J. Ourso College of Business has continuously improved and expanded its offerings for students and alumni. Additionally, the college has made it a priority to provide its faculty with the resources it needs to further research in every aspect of the business world and to produce industry leaders for a global work environment. For more news and information about the E. J. Ourso College, visit lsu.edu/business.
Contact: Wendy Marx
LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business