Speaker of the House announces partnerships
Speaker of the House Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, is anticipating enormous new investments in his region and is supporting careful planning. He recently met with mayors from all six municipalities in Calcasieu Parish along with the Police Jury. The group is seeking a working partnership with the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Transportation and Development.
â€śWe will see around $30 billion in industrial development in the next four years in Southwest Louisiana, that will create up to 12,000 construction jobs and almost 2,000 permanent jobs, and we need to have the state and local resources in place to support this activity,â€ť said Randy Roach, Mayor of Lake Charles. â€śWe came to Baton Rouge, not only to thank the state for its efforts to bring that kind of investment to our area, but to remind them that the real work is just beginning.â€ť
Roach said the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, along with local communities and other local agencies, have formed a working group called the Go Group, to make sure issues concerning workforce development, public safety, utilities, public services, transportation, education, healthcare and other needs are identified early and steps are taken to address those issues.
"We are anxious to get to work and support the planned industrial expansion," Roach said, â€śBut we will need help from the state to make sure we meet the needs of industry and realize all the benefits this work will bring to the state.â€ť
During the meeting in Baton Rouge this week, the Calcasieu representatives asked LED Secretary Stephen Moret and DOTD Secretary Sheri LeBas to appoint agency representatives to serve as liaisons to the Go Group.
With those individuals actively involved as partners, Roach said the team can quickly resolve problems, requests and ongoing issues during the years of construction and growth, â€śWe wonâ€™t have to re-invent the wheel with each request.â€ť
Speaker Kleckley, who hosted the group of mayors, and the entire southwest delegation are in complete agreement and look forward to fostering the state's partnership with the Go Group to make sure all the promised benefits are actually realized by careful planning.
In attendance were mayors Lawrence Henagan, DeQuincy, Carol Ponthieux, Iowa, Randy Roach, Lake Charles, Chris Duncan, Sulphur, Kenneth Stinson, Vinton, Dan Cupit, Westlake. Also meeting were Mark Eckard, Lake Charles City Council President, Shannon Spell, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury President, George Swift, Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, and Bryan Beam, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Administrator.
Thoughts from environmental attorney, Stephen Smith
After exactly 200 days out of their homes, the beleaguered residents of Bayou Corne finally got a hearing in Baton Rouge this week. They were also told of growing uncertainty about when the crisis in Assumption Parish â€” where the massive sinkhole created by a collapsing salt cavern continues to grow â€” will ever be resolved.
Many of them want out. Can you blame them at this point?
On the 200th day of their mandatory evacuation, Assumption Parish residents asked legislators for help Tuesday in persuading Texas Brine Co. LLC to buy homes affected by an 8.6-acre sinkhole.
Bayou Corne homeowner Candy Blanchard said she will never again feel safe in the house she built six years ago.
â€śTexas Brine has taught me more about purgatory and limbo, and I went to Catholic school, than the nuns could,â€ť Blanchard said.
In response, legislators pressed Texas Brine officials for their position on buyouts. The company said it is in conversations with its insurance carrier.
Nothing that the residents heard at the long-awaited hearing would likely made them feel any better about their plight. A geologist named Gary Hecox told the legislative panel that the salt cavern is still collapsing, and that it will take at least a year to fill in the hole, which is nearly large enough to accomodate the Louisiana Superdome. Many of the residents who heeded the evacuation order did so because of increasing fears over methane that is now being vented from the cavern.....
One positive thing that came out of the meeting was news that Democratic Rep. St. Germain is drafting legislation aimed at prevent this kind of crisis from happening again. Of course, thatâ€™s a little too late for the residents of Bayou Corne, but hopefully tougher oversight â€” something the Jindal administration has failed to provide so far â€” can help prevent future catastrophes.
Speaking of Gov. Bobby Jindal, the governor continues his embarrassing hiding act on the mattter â€” failing to attend the hearing or meet with the homeowners, after seven months of ignoring the sinkhole. Instead, his office issued a lame statement that â€ś[w]e receive regular updates on the situationâ€¦â€ť
That is simply inadequate â€” and unacceptable. The people of Bayou Corne deserve much, much better. The people of Bayou Corne deserve justice.
Latest Unemployment Insurance claims files from the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Initial UI claims for the week ending Feb. 16, 2013, decreased to 2,426 from the previous week's total of 2,829. Continued UI weeks claimed for the week ending Feb. 16, 2013, decreased to 29,100 from the previous week's total of 29,781.
From the Louisiana Budget Project (Daily Dime)
The eyes at the Capitol this morning will be on the state budget, as the administration presents Gov. Bobby Jindalâ€™s $24.7 billion executive budget to legislators, outlining how he will cover a projected $1.3 billion revenue shortfall. The governor told reporters Thursday that the budget relies heavily on projected savings in the LSU hospital system, and that cuts to higher education will be offset by higher tuition. The governor also included funding for school vouchers in the Minimum Foundation Program, despite a district judge ruling that the public-school financing formula is unconstitutional.
This yearâ€™s budget deliberations will occur simultaneously with a roiling debate about the governorâ€™s tax shift proposal. Addressing a Baton Rouge luncheon audience Thursday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, said the tax shift proposal is â€śdead on arrivalâ€ť if it largely increases the tax burden on retirees and the poor.
A new report by the Louisiana Budget Project looks at the significant savings that the state would realize if Louisiana were to accept billions of federal dollars that are available to extend Medicaid coverage to as many as 400,000 low-income adults beginning in 2014. When savings are compared to the cost of implementing Medicaid expansion in Louisiana, the expansion becomes a break-even proposition.
A report by the New York Times explores how seven Republican governors moved away from their party and accepted federal Medicaid expansion for their states. One recent governor to accept federal Medicaid expansion for his state, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, noted that doing so would not only save lives, but also create jobs and stimulate the economy.
Louisianaâ€™s state workforce has shrunk by 11.8 percent in the last five years â€“ one of the largest reductions in the nation, according to a report by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. In addition to layoffs, many current rank-and-file state employees have not received a pay increase in several years.
Weekend reading: A remarkably thorough investigation by Time magazine into the high cost of health care in America, which tries to figure out why some patients are charged $283 for chest x-rays that costs a hospital roughly $20.
From Tony Perkins (former Louisiana legislator and currently President of the Family research council)
Throughout the history of the Boy Scouts of America, character and courage have been two traits that could be counted on by the venerable organization. Pressed from any side, the Boy Scouts have kept their moral compass aligned as well as they have their magnetic ones. Recently, however, some within the organization have indicated that they are willing to abandon these values to advance a political agenda.
Protected by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2000, the Scouts completed an in-depth study and reiterated last year the wisdom of keeping their longstanding policy on homosexual Scout leaders and members. The study found that scouting parents overwhelmingly want the organization to respect their right to discuss these sexual topics with their children - and not bring this contentious issue into Scouting.
Even with this strong footing, some among the BSA board of directors -- pressured by corporate elites and homosexual activists - are seeking to turn the organization into a laboratory for social experimentation.
The board's move to reverse tradition and abandon the policy on homosexuality within Scouting was stalled due to a public outcry from hundreds of thousands of Americans like you. Many parents asked the board, "Why should we change what has been taught to these boys for the last 103 years?" Unwilling to make a principled stand, the BSA board decided in February to put the decision to a vote of approximately 1400 National Council members in late May.
This is where you can help. Please join us in signing our petition, which we will deliver to each of the roughly 290 Scout Councils across the nation.
These Councils represent the heart of Scouting, and are people who will be most impacted by an abandonment of the BSA policy on homosexuality. These faithful workers need to know that the communities of America will stand with them.
Your voice can help the Scouts continue to show character and courage in the face of adversity. Will you stand with them
Retirees could kill Louisiana tax overhaul plan
A key backer of Gov. Bobby Jindalâ€™s plan said Thursday that if state retirees actively oppose the proposal to revamp the Louisianaâ€™s tax system, the overhaul likely wouldnâ€™t â€¦
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said Thursday his proposed $24.7 billion budget for next year relies heavily on privatization plans for LSU's charity hospitals to offset the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicaid funding.
Nate Silver on Marco Rubio; prison and poverty; left wing opulence: James Varney/links
In keeping with the prediction business ( an earlier postlooked at a long-running fallacy within it), Nate Silver of The New York Times had an interesting take this week onFla. Sen. Marco Rubio , considered an early frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination....
Louisiana rural road work to start soon - WXVT-TV Delta News - More Local News and Weather WXVT.com |
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - State officials have agreed to borrow $100 million, allowing work to begin on a number of rural road projects.
However, problems with the state's debt limit and a dwindling capital outlay fund are preventing the state from moving forward on the entire list.
Worn by Team Jindal
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is the latest Republican executive to reverse his opposition to the health law's Medicaid expansion. Some other fervent opponents, however -- among them, Rick Perry of Texas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana -- continue to hold the line.
Gov. Bobby Jindalâ€™s proposed spending plan is $1 billion less than 2012â€™s budget, according to a news release. The plan comes in at $24.7 billion.
Gov. Bobby Jindal 's administration will unveil details of his $24.7 billion spending plan for the next year Friday morning before a joint budget committee in Baton Rouge . The administration's plan is largely based around savings from cuts made over the past year, including private partnerships for institutions in LSU's public hospital system , Jindal said Thursday.
Bayoubuzz Interviews December 2012
La. Commissioner of Ag. Strain says financial crises on Mississippi River Crises--Bayoubuzz.com