With its tax base decimated and already facing a $1 billion budget shortfall, Louisiana has no idea where it'll find the scratch, which amounts to about half of its annual $8 billion budget. But probably the first step should be to stop the bleeding:
"We may have to send [FEMA] a telegram pretty quick – 'Don't send us any more help. We can't afford it,' " said state Rep. John Alario, D-Westwego, chairman of the appropriations committee.
That's fine as far as it goes, John, but how do you pay for the tab you've already run up? Here's an original suggestion:
"What are we going to do if we can't pay them back – give them New Orleans?" asked state Rep. Roy "Hoppy" Hopkins, D-Oil City. "We don't know how we're going to get through this year's budget, and we're talking about another $3.7 billion on top of that. Surely someone [in Washington] has more sense than that."
Um, don't count on it, Hoppy. I'd start drawing up the transfer of ownership papers.
— State Rep. Red "Slappy" Panda, D-Mineraldepositsville, Light Reading