Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has had a very fortunate political career. In 2015, he was elected because many Republicans refused to support his GOP opponent, then U.S. Senator David Vitter. Last November, his narrow victory occurred because a significant number of Republican voters abandoned the GOP candidate, businessman Eddie Rispone, to support his re-election.
This week, he scored another victory as his preferred candidate for House Speaker, Representative Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales) was elected by a Republican-controlled legislature. Schexnayder defeated a more conservative opponent, Representative Sherman Mack (R-Albany) by a healthy 60-45 margin.
Is it "throw granny out of her bed time, once again, as the Louisiana legislature continues the budget debate? Or, do those precious aged folks really have much to worry about, again, this time?
Earlier this spring, an uproar occurred during the budget debate of the regular session, when Governor John Bel Edwards announced that letters would be sent out to notify some seniors in nursing homes that they might have to be evicted if the revenues do not come to fruition to accomodate their services. The Republicans screamed bloody murder, claiming the Governor was ruthlessly scaring seniors, unnecessarily.
Democrats and those wanting to halt the prospects of drastic cuts are on a full court press. Today, email boxes are flooded by organizations to say no to the Republican Louisiana House of Representative budget for next year. Below are a selection of some of the emails:
Can the Louisiana Republicans finally get major cuts to the budget as the fiscal hawks have demanded for years? How much of a budget hole is there? Why did the Louisiana legislative fiscal session, called last month to fill an almost one-billion dollar hole, fail without anything to show for its efforts? Did Governor John Bel Edwards have a firm plan? Can we really blame the Republicans for its lack of unity as the Governor has done with the special session fizzle or were the Democrats just as divided?
If you think about it, aren't the Louisiana Republican legislators in the driver's seat to be able to fix that onerous and seemingly ever-present, fiscal cliff?
I think so. And, apparantly, so does Rob Maness, who like the fiscal hawks in the House of Representatives and some in the Senate, want budget cuts now and deep and reasonable. They, along with just about everybody in the state are tired of the annual budget crises. They have been urging primarily the scapel and reform, others favor less knife and more gas, or revenues, to soften the blow of less governmental services.
And guess what? It seems since the Republicans control the Louisiana legislature, they can make those cavernous cuts without the help or"interference" of the Democrats (some might say). This could mean Republican slamming down the peddle preventing various factions, including even Governor John Bel Edwards, from having any real say.
Winter is still here. The Louisiana days are getting a little longer. The threat of another special session to plug a massive hole in the budget is getting closer.
The mantra of fiscal cliff still fills the air as it has now winter after winter, year after year.
The point isn’t so much that Democrats’ positions continue to deteriorate in Louisiana, or even why, but why Democrats continue to let it happen.
My Advocate colleague Tyler Bridges wrote a piece on how, despite enthusiasm stemming from Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ 2015 upset win, indicators keep showing the party’s fortunes declining.