It is difficult to fathom how Louisiana legislature and our Governor John Bel Edwards have gotten us in the situation where fiscal matters dealing with the budget are more chaotic now than they were after the traumas and horrors of Hurricane Katrina. But they are.
Last night, the House Republicans ran out the clock, preventing any further opportunities to emerge for a late, last-minute deal. They were adamant that they were not going to budge on the revenues increase. Nor were the Governor and others willing to toe the line on spending and on raising taxes.
Only four full days, excluding today, left in the second extraordinary fiscal session of the Louisiana legislature called to fix the fiscal cliff, 2018.
Will the Louisiana legislature be able to come to an agreement prior to Monday midnight? Will a legislative agreement include more cuts to higher education, the hospitals, TOPS, the prison system and government infrastructure? If so, will the governor John Bel Edwards sign the budget into law?
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.
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.