CNN News Update: Jesse Jackson Jr. pleads guilty
According to CNN:
Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty in federal court to one charge related to using campaign funds for personal expenses. "Guilty, your honor," Jackson responded to U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins, after looking back at family members in the courtroom, including his father, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson.
"I used monies that should have been used for campaign purposes," Jackson acknowledged to the judge. According to court documents, the former Democratic congressman from Illinois misused about $750,000 in campaign funds. Jackson could face up to five years in prison. The judge set sentencing for June 28.
Hollis files bill to restrict traffic camera citations
Does anyone like the traffic cameras?
State Rep. Paul Hollis (R-104) has pre-filed a bill to restrict the use of automated traffic enforcement equipment.
The bill would allow the issuance of tickets from red light or speed-enforcement cameras only to drivers whose vehicles are registered in areas that also employ the automated systems.
“The proliferation of these revenue-generating devices has done nothing to enhance public safety but has only allowed local governments and third-party administrators to profit,” Hollis said. “Governments are not in existence to make money, but to provide essential services. Automated traffic enforcement is not a service; it’s a tax.”
Hollis said citizens who live in areas where cameras have been approved have voted for the officials who authorize them, giving tacit approval for the deployment of the devices. But drivers who are unaware of the cameras’ placement and who did not indirectly support their use should not be subject to penalties as a result.
“In St. Tammany Parish, automated traffic enforcement devices are not in use,” Hollis said. “If one of our citizens drives in another parish where these devices are located, they should not be subject to the penalties imposed by them. I don’t want to infringe on the will of local governments or the voters who support them, but I don’t want the rest of us to have to bow to their will, either.”
Hollis said the bill will not hurt Louisiana businesses, as the third-party collectors who manage these revenues are out-of-state and even out-of-country contractors.
“Traffic cameras, red light cameras or speed-control cameras – whatever you call them, they’re nothing more than an invasion of privacy and a revenue-generating tool,” Hollis said. “They don’t make us safer; they make us poorer. I’m confident the drivers of Louisiana will support these bills, and I’m optimistic my colleagues in the Legislature will, as well.”
Cokie Roberts speaks at Loyola University New Orleans
Cokie Roberts speaks out
NEW ORLEANS, La.—Her voice is synonymous with NPR’s "Morning Edition" and she is a nationally recognized political reporter. Cokie Roberts, New Orleans native and daughter of prominent U.S. Representatives Hale and Lindy Boggs, will headline a free public event at Loyola University New Orleans Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.
Roberts will provide an historical account of New Orleans politics, touching on her family’s experiences and her own as a political correspondent, as well as offering perspective on the recent presidential election.
The event is part of Loyola’s Presidential Centennial Guest Series and will take place in the Louis J. Roussel Performance Hall located in the Communications/Music Complex on Loyola’s main campus. Free parking is available for attendees in the West Road Garage. A coffee and dessert reception will follow the event.
Capitol Hill was the backdrop for Roberts’ childhood—her parents represented Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional district for half a century—and led to her future as a national political journalist. After serving as a foreign radio correspondent for CBS in the 1970s, Roberts began covering Capitol Hill for NPR in 1978. She co-anchored ABC’s “This Week” with Sam Donaldson from 1996 to 2002.
Roberts’ work at NPR and ABC News has garnered three Emmy Awards. She was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and is recognized by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. The Library of Congress honored her as a Living Legend in 2008.
Her bestselling book, "We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters,” is an account of women's roles and relationships throughout American history. Her histories of women in America's founding era—“Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation,” published in 2004 and “Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation” in 2008—also became instant bestsellers. She also writes a nationally syndicated weekly newspaper column with her husband, Steven V. Roberts.
Roberts' talk will be available for viewing live online Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. CST at www.loyno.edu/speakers for those who cannot attend the event.
Superintendent White to deliver address in Jefferson Parish
Unveiling Louisiana Believes 2013-2014
Do you believe?
BATON ROUGE, La. - Today, State Superintendent of Education John White will visit Chateau Estates Elementary School in Jefferson Parish to unveil Louisiana Believes 2013-2014. His speech will be broadcasted live via the internet for educators and parents around the state. To watch Supt. White's address live from Jefferson Parish, please visit www.livestream.com/LDOEcomm. Supt. White will give a look at the increased achievement of Louisiana's students and set the framework for progress in the coming year.
WHO: State Superintendent of Education John White
WHAT: Unveiling of Louisiana Believes 2013-2014
WHEN: Wednesday, February 20, 2012
WHERE: Chateau Estates Elementary
4121 Medoc Drive
Kenner, LA 70065
Louisiana Chapter of the Campaign to Fix the Debt meets with Scalise
LA Campaign urges spending cuts
Members the Louisiana Chapter of the Campaign to Fix the Debt will meet with Congressman Steve Scalise to urge him to help lead the change that is necessary for our nation’s economic future. The steering committee will ask Rep. Scalise to work towards a bipartisan agreement to put the debt on a downward path by cutting spending; reforming the tax code; and make the necessary changes to entitlements to save them for future generations.
• Members of the Steering Committee of the Louisiana Chapter of the Campaign to Fix the Debt
• U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA)
110 Veterans Blvd. Ste 500
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Our country’s economic prosperity depends on putting our fiscal house in order. Despite the savings lawmakers have already enacted, the debt remains on an upward path as a share of the economy. Given that lawmakers have so far opted for pursuing deficit reduction in steps, we propose two more steps of fiscal reforms to put the debt on a clear downward path as a share of the economy. Additional deficit reduction should be enacted promptly; the longer we wait the fewer options we will have and the less time we will be able to give individuals and businesses to prepare. Serious fiscal reforms would bolster long-term economic growth while also protecting the economy in the short term by replacing mindless and across-the-board sequestration cuts with targeted reforms and by slowly phasing in savings.
In our view, a comprehensive deficit reduction plan should bring the debt below 70 percent of GDP by early next decade and keep it on a downward trajectory thereafter. A reasonable plan should also at least do the following:
• Promote growth while protecting the economic recovery
• Protect the safety net for the most vulnerable in society
• Reduce tax expenditures and lower rates in a progressive and pro-growth manner
• Modernize entitlements for an aging population
• Control rapidly-growing health care spending while enhancing quality and value
• Replace the sequester with responsible cuts to unnecessary spending we cannot afford
• Make Social Security solvent and limit the per capita growth of all federal health obligations
• Protect the full faith and credit of the US Government by indexing the debt limit
• Make America better off tomorrow than it is today
The first two steps of deficit reduction have been accomplished through various continuing resolutions, the Budget Control Act of 2011, and the recent American Taxpayer Relief Act. We propose two more steps – a “Step 3” focused on entitlement reforms, tax reform, and additional spending cuts and “Step 4” focused on securing our long-term debt trajectory. This proposal builds upon the discussions between President Obama and Speaker Boehner with additional deficit reduction necessary to put the debt on a declining path as a share of the economy.
In “Step 3,” we call for an additional $2.4 trillion of deficit reduction over the next ten years. Roughly one quarter of those savings should come from health care reforms and another quarter from tax reform. The remaining savings should come from a combination of mandatory spending cuts, stronger discretionary caps, cross-cutting changes such as adopting the chained CPI for indexing provision in the federal budget, and lower interest payments. In “Step 4”, we call for a parallel process to make Social Security sustainably solvent and make further reforms in health care if necessary to limit cost growth to about the rate of the economy.
The problem is real, the solutions are painful, and there is no easy way out. What we are calling for is by no means perfect. We understand that there will be disagreements among policymakers and experts about the exact approaches to achieve deficit reduction, and we welcome their commentary.
# # #
For more information, and to sign the campaign’s Citizen’s Petition, please visitwww.fixthedebt.org.
Bayoubuzz Interviews December 2012
La. Commissioner of Ag. Strain says financial crises on Mississippi River Crises--Bayoubuzz.com
From Louisiana Budget Project
A new report from the Louisiana Budget Project outlines several reforms to the broken process that governs state tax exemptions. Louisiana lost more than $4.8 billion in 2011 from tax exemptions, a 167 percent increase since 2001. Once a tax break gets on the books, it drains state revenue year after year without legislative review.
Years of budget cuts, and the departure of top researchers, has left LSU “at the tipping point of going from a tier one to a tier two [university],” interim LSU System President William Jenkins told The Advocate. Jenkins said LSU has experienced a downward turn in research productivity over the past few years, and its faculty-student ratio has risen as faculty have left and taken their grant money with them.
Cutting state personal income taxes not only won’t promote small business growth and job creation, but it is also likely over time to threaten the success of entrepreneurs by taking resources away from critical services like education, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. CBPP notes that the vast majority of businesses that would receive a personal income tax cut are in no position to create jobs; most small businesses make too little money for tax cuts to produce enough income to pay new employees; and most small business owners are not significant “job creators” and have no plans to be.
A Stateline report from the Pew Charitable Trusts describes the challenges states face when they try to estimate revenue increases after restructuring their tax systems. The report warns that states may find themselves with far less revenue than expected after swapping one tax for another – mostly due to missing data. Although Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax shift plan will likely propose broadening the sales tax base to ensure it is “revenue neutral,” LSU economist James Richardson pointed out to Stateline that Louisiana will not know how much revenue the base broadening will raise until Louisiana actually taxes new services.
The Louisiana Legislative Auditor's Office does not believe state agencies should be able to accept donations on behalf of non-profits and direct how it is spent without getting approval from the Legislature. The controversy originated out of a three-year program created by BP, the Lieutenant Governor's Office, and other state agencies following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which allowed the state agencies to manage how non-profits spent $60 million in funds from BP to promote tourism and the seafood industry.
Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Steven Moret makes the case for eliminating state income taxes in a letter to the Advocate.
The vote to approve a 20-year extension of the Crescent City Connection tolls in New Orleans was upheld following a partial recount of nearly 4,000 paper ballots in Orleans Parish. But the issue is far from over. A trial is set for March 4-5 to determine whether there were irregularities in the referendum that failed in two of the three parishes deciding the issue.
PAR announces Sunshine Headquarters internet portal
PAR offers Sunshine
The Public Affairs Research Council is pleased to announce the new Sunshine Headquarters, Louisiana's primary source of information on public records, open meetings and campaign finance disclosures. PAR has long provided resources, training and policy guidance on transparency issues in Louisiana. This new Internet portal aims to equip citizens with more tools and information on Louisiana sunshine laws than ever before in one user-friendly location.
Based on PAR's website, the Sunshine Headquarters provides materials both for newcomers as well as knowledgeable veterans of sunshine laws. It contains easily understandable guides suitable for those seeking an introduction to the subject as well as in-depth resources for those who need to look further. It is designed to help citizens, nonprofit groups, community organizations, government and the media navigate the state's sunshine laws, which apply to all state and local governments. In addition to a range of information on Open Meetings and Public Records, this portal provides resources on Campaign Finance and Community/Local budgeting and open governance. The Sunshine Headquarters is accessible from PAR's home page at www.parlouisiana.org.
LED Secretary Moret’s letter on tax reform
LED Secretary Stephen Moret's letter to the editor builds the case for tax reform in Louisiana:
"When deciding where to place major job-creating projects, corporate executives often choose among several states with comparable location advantages. Taxes usually are among their top site-selection criteria.
The Tax Foundation reports Louisiana's state/local tax burdens for individuals and corporations are among the lowest in the country once our myriad state tax exemptions are considered. Yet our state's tax structure often is poorly perceived because of its complexity. ...
Eliminating income taxes in a revenue-neutral manner and improving sales tax administration would dramatically simplify our tax system, reducing administrative headaches for families and small businesses.
Louisiana would climb from No. 32 to approximately No. 4 in the State Business Tax Climate Index. Moreover, Louisiana's position would improve in a dozen other national rankings of tax competitiveness or business climate.
Most importantly, our state would become more attractive for business investment, meaning more and better job opportunities for Louisiana citizens and enhanced growth prospects for Louisiana's small businesses. ..."
Read more of Secretary Moret's letter to the editor in The Advocate.
The Juvenile Justice Implementation Commission commissioned the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Institute for Public Health and Justice, which houses the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Louisiana Models for Change initiative, in 2011 to conduct a study to assess the current state of the juvenile justice system, evaluate improvements and issue recommendations for a five-year plan for juvenile justice reform. House Speaker Pro Tempore Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, late last week submitted the report findings to the Louisiana Legislature. The full report can be found at http://publichealth.lsuhsc.edu/iphj/sustainingreform.html
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