Federal and state government officials were all giddy yesterday when they announced that Louisiana's share of the  Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act would be $82 million. That's a lot of money for sure but let me put that into perspective for you.

That figure, $82 million, is less than tonight's Mega Millions drawing. It's not even half of tomorrow night's potential Powerball drawing. It's also a little less than half of what the state could receive from the GOMESA plan.

Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority will oversee the spending of the bulk of the money. In fact, they will determine how over $65 million in the funds will be spent. The remaining money will be divided up among the coastal parishes. Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas will share the remaining $106 million in GOMESA funds.

In typical Louisiana political style, our leaders had planned for the state to receive about $140 million in GOMESA funding. We are only getting $82 million. So not only do we base our state's budget on a market sensitive commodity, we can't reliably forecast how much money that volatile commodity will return to the state's coffers. In Louisiana, that's what we call good government.

I probably shouldn't be such a pessimist. The money is needed and I hope it will be spent on the projects it was intended to be spent upon. My guess is that sometime between now and when the check clears the legislature will have enacted a piece of legislation that allows the state to change its mind on where the money goes. I have no proof of that, only a hunch and a lot of previous history.


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