The war of words over how to deal with a budget deficit or otherwise in Louisiana annual parlance, the fiscal cliff, is mounting as the temporary sales tax comes to an end this week. The sales tax brings roughly one billion dollars into the state coffers.
Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has taken to the press pulpit to argue that Republican moderates want a plan presented by their members but the fiscal conservatives refuse to present one, thus, a budgetary showdown that will result in major reductions in government spending.
The incentive package that Louisiana offered to attract a new Toyota/Mazda plant had nothing to do with why the state lost out to Alabama. That Louisiana has an uncompetitive tax code, badly needs tort reform, and has uncertainty surrounding its industrial tax exemption program has everything to do with its jilting.
Hold on to your hernia belts, a potential court decision either could make Louisiana state budgeting more intractable or become a catalyst for badly needed change.
A recent poll by Southern Media and Opinion Research shows that Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards enjoys a 65% approval rating among voters. Edwards, the only statewide elected Democrat, has seen a surge in his poll numbers since the last legislative session.
Unfortunately for Edwards, there is a legislative session slated to begin in the spring. According to pollster Bernie Pinsonat, the Governor’s “job ratings are apparently affected by legislative sessions with talk of taxes and budget deficits.”
There has been a lot of bad news out of LSU, Louisiana’s flagship university in recent weeks. Not just on the football field where the Tigers have completed a mediocre season, even though they have the highest salaried group of coaches in the nation. Campus shortcomings have raised a number of troubling questions about poor administrative decisions being made.
Hours after the United States President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress celebrated a humongous legislative victory with passing its tax reform package in record time without any Democratic support, back home in Louisiana, there's a different tune being sung.
First, up in DC: The US tax reform plan passed without any hearings and sworn testimony. Very few, if anyone in Congress read the legislation since none of them even saw it until an hour or so before the vote. That legislation, which passed and signed into law today, put the finishing touches upon the Trump-led US Congressional congressional agenda in which all respect for the ordinary congressional process was ignored. Earlier this year, Republicans unsuccessfully yet similarly attempted to repeal Obamacare without any hearings, or participation by the minority Democrats and yes, without legislation being available for lawmakers to debate.
In Louisiana, a number of Jefferson and St. Tammany Parish officials were aghast a few years ago over a proposal to sell the Causeway Bridge that goes to the North Shore across Lake Pontchartrain. When the state’s largest paper, the Times Picayune, mixed the idea editorially, one elected official after the other fell all over themselves running away from even any talk of such an atrocity.
Today, Southern Media and Opinion Research released its fall poll which surveyed the Louisiana population on a variety of issues.
Importantly, for specific local politicians, John Bel Edwards is very popular, although a Democrat in a Republican state. His favorable are a very respectable 63%. He is also the most popular statewide elected official followed by US Senator John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, who is below fifty percent.
Though the conversation depicted in this cartoon likely didn’t go down exactly this way, it is, nonetheless, typical of the mindset of not only Republicans, but Democrats as well. The merits of a given piece of legislation are immaterial; if it’s being proposed by the opposition party, we’re against it.
It’s getting close to redistricting time for legislators, both in Louisiana and throughout the country. By federal law, all election districts must be reapportioned every 10 years to reflect the latest census figures. But should legislators, who have a vested interest in how the redistricting lines are drawn, actually be the ones to do the drawing, anyway?