The Louisiana legislature is back in session for the fiscal budget fix. The assumption and perhaps conventional wisdom is that the legislature will somehow compromise on the $650 to $670 million dollar shortfall compared to last year’s budget for government services. But, that is no certainty.
Earlier this year, when there was roughly a billion dollar shortage, the legislature failed to pass a budget and while the current projected budget is now smaller, it would still take compromising on the part of all the lawmakers and the Governor, John Bel Edwrds.
Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Executive Vice President Jim Smith of DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC) joined guests and employees in dedicating the company’s New Orleans Digital Transformation Center at the newly named DXC Technology Building on 1615 Poydras Street. In November, DXC Technology announced it will create 2,000 new direct jobs in New Orleans over the next five years in what will become Louisiana’s largest technology-focused economic development project to date.
by Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of Louisiana Business and Industry
For almost three years, the state Capitol has been absolutely, positively one thing: chaotic.
The 6th special session during this time-period begins this week and will once again pit the Administration’s desire for tax revenue against the Legislature’s lack of consensus on that very topic. This plotline should sound familiar by now.
Why is Governor John Bel Edwards having so many problems with the Louisiana legislature? Is he simply a weak administrator who--for one reason or not--cannot get the Republican dominated legislative bodies to support his agenda? Or is he a strong governor who simply faces a recalcitrant republican-controlled legislature and GOP-based business community, who are using their political clout to limit his power for political purposes? Or, are there some other reasons?
Political parties are at a low ebb both in Louisiana and throughout the rest of the country. Public opinion often dips below 40% approval rating in numerous national and statewide polling. Voters continue to lose faith in how both Democrats and Republicans govern. When asked why people belong to a certain party, the negative views of the opposing party are often given. In other words, “I’m a Democrat because I can’t stand the "Republicans” and visa versa.
The 2018 vintage of the Louisiana legislature has been in session now since February 19 2018. Initially, it met in an extraordinary fiscal session called by Governor John Bel Edwards to grapple with the then-one billion dollar budget shortfall. That two week endeavor ended in failure. Essentially nothing was passed.
Legislators being in session for essentially the first half of each year for the past series of springs has become a regular occurence, primarily due to major budgetary issues. The individual lawmakers are tired. Nerves are frayed. The everyday grind focuses upon minutia. They are underpaid. And perhaps worse of all, nothing seems to be getting done. Bills are getting killed.