In today’s edition of Bayoubuzz’s Louisiana politics here are the top items:
The national media are lionizing Governor Bobby Jindal but the Louisiana Democratic Party is providing a different view;
Speaker of the House Chuck Kleckley announced a special election due to a retiring Louisiana State Representative;
Senator David Vitter, perhaps poking at Jindal but certainly reiterating his own conservative stripes;
Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere indicating that he supports the current national GOP chair but he might be willing to take the top job;
Marc Morial meets with President Barack Obama;
Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise gets a high-republican seat
Governor Bobby Jindal has been getting high-praise from various parts of the medium spectrum lately for his post-election remarks on various national television networks and his recent letter published in the Washington Post.
One Washington Post blogger, Ed Rogers, co-host of The Insiders blog, who is chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, followed up that Jindal letter with his own praise of the Louisiana Governor.
“Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has done the GOP a great service by writing a thoughtful piece titled, “How Republicans can win future elections.” Jindal is a rare politician. Thanks to his confidence, communication skills and policy expertise, listeners may actually learn something when he speaks. He knows what he believes, and why. He doesn’t need talking points or tired cliches. He understands history. He has seen firsthand what works and what doesn’t. And he can talk about these things without having someone less knowledgeable write him a script.
In his piece for CNN, Jindal starts by making the vivid point that Republicans don’t need to “moderate, equivocate, and even abandon their core principles as a necessary prerequisite for winning future elections.” He continues, “That is absurd. America already has one liberal party; there is no need for another one.”
The Louisiana Democratic Party, however, has a different take. On Wednesday night, the party released an e-blast with the following:
Higher Ed Policies Prove It
Jindal identifies self as leading GOP Enemy
In a startling interview with a reporter with the national politics website Politico this week, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal unleashed a furious and devastatingly accurate attack of his own higher education policies.
In a typically rambling, stream of consciousness, 45-minute telephone interview with Jindal, reporter Jonathan Martin landed this whopper from the 2016 Republican presidential nomination seeker:
"We've got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything," Jindal told POLITICO in a 45-minute telephone interview. "We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys."
Clearly, the Governor should spend more time in Louisiana which might enable him to become more familiar with the impact of his own policies. The Governor's $600 million in cuts in higher education over the past five years have shifted a heavier burden on Louisiana working and middle class families in the form higher tuition and fees at all levels of post-secondary education in Louisiana.
Tuition and fees at Louisiana's universities, community and technical colleges have gone up as much as 50% during that time, making up for some of the financial losses to the institutions -- but on the backs of Louisiana families. Some of that financial pain on families was actually deflected for a time by funding from President Obama's stimulus legislation passed by Congress in early 2010 -- something the Governor would loathe to admit.
In all, the state of Louisiana pays less support for public colleges and universities than do students and their families after five years of Jindal's higher education budget cuts. That burden falls particularly hard on middle and low income families. The Louisiana Budget Project's 2011 report on state support for higher education found that the cost of tuition at a four-year public college or university in Louisiana required between 29% and 100% of the total family income of middle and working class families. That was before the Jindal cuts and the cost shifts began.
The Governor and his supporters would have you believe that the cuts in state support for higher education were necessary due to the state's ongoing fiscal crisis. To the extent that there is a crisis, it is of Jindal's own making.
The first hole in state finances was created at the end of his first Regular Session as Governor when he signed the repeal of the income tax bracket portion of the Stelly Plan. It is a gift to the top income earners that has kept on taking from state government. The most recent estimate by The Louisiana Budget Project was that the income tax repeal approved by Jindal had cost Louisiana $1.8 Billion in revenue - and that was two years ago.
The Louisiana Budget Project's trend lines on tax collections and exemptions in Louisiana.
Not to be outdone (the repeal of the income tax portion of the Stelly Plan was not Jindal's idea), the Governor has since embarked on a four-year long spasm of awarding tax exemptions to corporations that has dropped annual corporate tax revenue in Louisiana from more than $1 Billion to just over $100 Million in the most recently completed fiscal year, according to the Department of Revenue's "Tax Exemption Budget" released earlier this year. There are estimates that in the current fiscal year, the State of Louisiana will actually have a net negative corporate tax rate -- that is, the state will write out more in exemption checks than it takes in through corporate tax dollars.
Let's recap: Under Bobby Jindal, cuts in higher education funding have shifted an ever increasing financial burden onto middle and working class families in the form of higher tuition and fees. Meanwhile, the Governor has established himself as a serial author of tax policies that favor the wealthiest Louisianans over the interests of the middle and working class families, as well as an ardent proponent of welfare for corporations in the form of tax exemptions. Giving away all that money is the force driving the cuts in higher education (and health care, but we'll deal with that separately).
So, if Bobby Jindal truly believes the words he spouted to Politico, then he has met the enemy of his party and he is it!
Former New Orleans Mayor and National Urban League President Marc H. Morial met this afternoon with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to discuss deficit reduction and strengthening the economy.
Morial is one of several representatives from civic organizations, including the NAACP, the National Council of LaRaza and National Action Network.
Morial sent a letter to President Obama the day after his re-election urging a sensible and responsible approach to deficit reduction, with a goal of one dollar in revenue enhancement for every dollar in spending cuts.
While much of the Republican world is talking compromise, especially about issues such as immigration reform, Republican Louisiana U.S. Senator, David Vitter wants his followers to know there is a limit. Here is a message he sent out to his team, today, which some politicos believe was targeted to the recent comments by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal :
Like you, I'm disappointed that Mitt Romney lost and that Republicans did not pick up seats in the U.S. Senate. Whenever political parties experience such defeats, factions from within the party begin to disagree or blame other parts for the election results.
My response: everyone calm down. It's irrational for a party of principles to quickly change or vacate them completely only because some people think it will help them win elections. Worse, it’s shortsighted.
One issue that the liberal media and the Democrats would absolutely love to capitalize on is "immigration reform." For these folks, that means nothing more than amnesty.
What they forget is that in 2007, when I helped lead a small group of senators to defeat Ted Kennedy's amnesty bill, a majority of Americans opposed amnesty for illegal aliens.
I believe we need to lead by pushing for real immigration reform: better securing our borders, a better naturalization process for immigrants who are trying to become citizens the right way, and enabling states and cities with the ability to enforce the immigration laws already on the books.
Selling out our principles wholesale for potential political expediency is not the answer.
Rest assured, I'll keep fighting for our voice to be heard.
Roger Villere, Chairman of the Republican National Committee?
Well, on Thursday, Villere forwarded a link to an article which wrote about the support for the current chairman. The article title is Priebus retains support despite losses
Of particular note, the article said, “So far, 42 of the state GOP chairmen and elected national committee members who make up the 168-member RNC say they will back the chairman. The party’s top congressional leaders, including House Speaker John A. Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, have also privately conveyed support for Mr. Priebus to run for a second two-year term, The Washington Times has learned.
Louisiana GOP Chairman Roger Villere sent a memo to fellow RNC members criticizing the party’s get-out-the-vote failures Nov. 6 and failure to attract more minorities, women and young voters. A few RNC members and some activists not on the national committee are urging Mr. Villere to run against Mr. Priebus, but he said he remains behind the incumbent.
A majority of conservatives in the Republican Study Committee voted Thursday to elect Congressman Steve Scalise (LA-01) to serve as the Chairman of the RSC in the 113th Congress.
According to Scalise, “The Republican Study Committee is the conservative conscience of the House, and I’m humbled and honored to be chosen as the RSC’s leader for the 113th Congress,”
Kleckley and Special election
Speaker of the House Chuck Kleckley announced today that State Representative Clif Richardson of District 65, Baton Rouge, has resigned, effective January 2, 2013. Due to the vacancy in the office, Speaker Kleckley has called for a special primary and special general election in District 65, for the purpose of electing a State Representative.
Rep. Richardson will be leaving his position in the House of Representatives because he would like to devote his time to maintaining his health. ”
According to a proclamation issued by Speaker Kleckley, the primary election in District 65 is set for Saturday, March 2, 2013, and the general election for Saturday, April 6, 2013. Candidates for office can file notice between Wednesday, January 9, 2013 and Friday, January 11, 2013, ending at 5:00 p.m.
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