What’s a governor to do? What’s a Louisiana governor to do?
Which was somewhat the issue discussed yesterday. That’s when long-time State elected official and political observer Jim Brown and equally long-time political writer Tom Aswell (publisher of LouisianaVoice) and I got together online to talk about the current budget mess up in Baton Rouge. That mess might also be known as the “second special Louisiana Legislative fiscal session of 2018”. If the mess is not cleaned sufficiently over the next seven days, there is talk about a third crack at getting it right.
The Governor in question, of course is Democrat John Bel Edwards. He has started his third year in office and is trying to get his agenda and budget plans through the Republican-dominated legislature. His approach is a blend of taxes and spending cuts.
Another spring, another special session.
Is it the sixth since Governor John Bel Edwards took over from Bobby Jindal? Like Sally Bowes sang in Cabaret, "maybe this time"?
As the Louisiana regular session comes to an abrupt close this week, the special session focused upon a gaping $650 million hole, begins Tuesday. After two successive shoo shoos fiscal sessions meant to make up the difference in what the state spent this year and what it has money to spend next year, it is hard to be very confident that a solution will come at hand.
There is a disturbing article in a recent issue of Atlantic Magazine by a prominent physician at the University of Pennsylvania. Ezekiel J. Emanuel is an oncologist, a bioethicist, and a vice provost of the University, and is the author or editor of 10 books, including Reinventing American Health Care. So he is a bright guy who knows a lot about health. His premise is that no one, in this day and age, should aspire to live longer than 75 years of age.
As we know, Louisiana is, has been, and probably will be in a fiscal mess, year after year, until and unless we identify and then fix the problem.
For the past ten years, and at times prior to the start of the Bobby Jindal administraton, the budget has been unbalanced until the magic, smoke and mirrors took over to create a false balanced budget, financed often with one-time money.
We have teachers leaving their classes, protesting low pay and inadequate financial support for schools; Kids are taking off from class in droves, making sure their once muted voices are being heard on matters such as gun-control and weapons in schools. Once again, the state budget is a total mess and the voters are up in arms.
Why is the Louisiana budget so much higher than the budgets of the other states, even the Southern states which Louisiana is often and justifiably compared?
Wait. You mean, the comparisons being made--claiming Louisiana spends so much more than other states with comparative larger populations, are, perhaps, not correct?
At a moment in which money is short and tempers are long, what role does race play as the Louisiana legislature continues to iron out its budgetary and political differences during this spring 2018 legislative session?In a prior article and segment of an interview with Elizabeth Crisp, the reporter for the Advocate, we discussed an incident last week that occurred in which the issue of race nakedly appeared during a Senate Education committee hearing. In part three of the interview, Jim Brown probed further into the more general topic and that incident when Metairie Senator Conrad Appel, a Republican, took issue with comments being made by an African American New Orleans legislator during a hearing on the impact of charter schools. Here is how the Advocate reported the incident:
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?
Has the Louisiana legislature become a battle-ground of anger and acrimony, based, in part upon political philosophy and to an extent, whether willing to admit it, or not, race? Essentially, this was the first question asked in Bayoubuzz’s interview with The Advocate’s Reporter, Elizabeth Crisp, who covers the Louisiana legislature.
So, let the olympic-sized Louisiana legislative fiscal debate match begin!
On Monday, the Louisiana legislature convenes at the state Capitol for another special fiscal session to make an attempt to fix, what we might call, the always-existing revenue hole fiscal cliff.