State representative Kenneth Havard (R-Jackson) would like to request that the $178.5 Million go towards the Office of Group Benefits to mitigate the impact of the proposed health plan cost increases to state employees. Havard represents a district that includes many state institutions and retired state workers.
“It is questionable whether there is actually a surplus or not, but should it be determined that there actually is $178.5M, it should go toward the manufactured crisis created by this administration,” Havard said. “They lowered the premiums without actuarial data to support doing so. This allowed the state to reduce its share of the match in order to use elsewhere in the budget. The argument will be made by the administration, that the surplus is a non-recurring revenue source. I agree, and these non recurring funds should be spent according to the constitutional mandates. As with last year, after satisfying constitutional requirements towards the Budget Stabilization Fund and the Unfunded Accrued Liability of the retirement systems, the remainder could be used to decrease debt, freeing up State General Funds for the Office of Group Benefits. We can't afford to kick this can down the road."
CB Forgotston is looking for help. In his constant state of disbelief as it relates to the Jindal administration, the government watchdog also is questioning the existence of a surplus. He wants input and feedback. Put this man to work.
Senator Mary Landrieu and Col. Rob Maness continue to denounce Bill Cassidy for his refusals to debate and to appear in public forums. Rob Maness put up this audio click on his Youtube account in which Rush Limbaugh blasts Cassidy and Senator Mary Landrieu.
Senator Landrieu emailed this press statement with reports from various media:
ICYMI – Last night, Senator Mary Landrieu and Republican candidate Colonel Rob Maness participated in the first Louisiana Senate debate of the cycle. While Senator Landrieu had a strong performance, where she highlighted her 18 years of fighting for Louisiana in the Senate, noticeably absent was Congressman Bill Cassidy.
The Congressman, dubbed “dead weight” by Republican leadership, refused to participate in the first debate, just as he’s refused to participate in two other debates originally scheduled.
Congressman Cassidy is doubling down on his refusal to publicly state where he will be or participate in debates, telling voters and the media to find him on Facebook.
The Gambit: Mary Landrieu and Rob Maness face off in debate; Landrieu slams absent opponent Bill Cassidy
“Following the first televised debate between Louisiana Senate candidates Sen. Mary Landrieu and retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, Landrieu held a brief press conference to slam Republican candidate Rep. Bill Cassidy, who had declined to participate in the debate held at Dillard University as well as other forums.”
“Landrieu (and Maness) didn't mention Cassidy by name during the Oct. 9 debate but Landrieu often referred to ‘the guy who didn't show up.’ Following the debate, Landrieu and four supporters asked Cassidy to answer questions about his voting record and his absence from debates.
“‘This seat is not up for sale,’ [Landrieu] continued. ‘If you're not man enough or strong enough to go to these debates, how in heavens are you going to be strong enough to represent the citizens of Louisiana who deserve tenacity, strength and determination?’”
“Landrieu joked that she thought Cassidy was afraid of her, as she knows she has a ‘temper.’ Landrieu said Cassidy is afraid of seniors, women and students — each of whom was represented by four people standing behind her.”
The Advocate: Landrieu, Maness differ sharply during debate
By Jeff Adelson, October 9, 2014
“In her opening statement, Landrieu stressed the importance of her three terms in the Senate in giving her the ability to get projects, funding and legislation of concern to Louisianians approved by a divided and largely deadlocked Congress. That influence, and the benefits it brings to specific industries and interests in the state, has been a key part of Landrieu’s campaign.”
“‘It’s about leadership, clout, about being to deliver for the state of Louisiana,’ Landrieu said. ‘Despite the gridlock, my work for the state of Louisiana has not stopped.’”
“Cassidy was invited but 'despite several pleas' declined to attend the debate, said WDSU anchor Scott Walker, the moderator. Both Landrieu and Maness have criticized Cassidy — who has said he will appear at only two televised debates — for skipping others that have been scheduled.”
The Times-Picayune: Mary Landrieu, Rob Maness take on health care law, immigration in Senate race's first debate
By Cole Avery, October 9, 2014
“Though Landrieu and Maness took several shots at each other, they landed a few hits on Cassidy's positions as well.”
“Landrieu attempted to link Cassidy to Gov. Bobby Jindal, particularly in the way health care has been handled in the state. She said the nation needs centrists like her willing to work across the aisle rather than more Republicans that exist just to say ‘no.’”
“Landrieu referred to him several times as ‘the guy who's not here.’ She has criticized Cassidy for what she calls hiding behind false attack ads.”
“‘He's hiding behind millions of dollars in bogus ads. This seat is not for sale. If you are not man enough or strong enough to come to debates, how in heavens are you going to be strong enough to represent the citizens of Louisiana that deserve strength and tenacity and determination,’ Landrieu said.”
POLITICO: Mary Landrieu, Rob Maness slam absent Bill Cassidy
By Burgess Everett, October 9, 2014
“Sen. Mary Landrieu hammered Rep. Bill Cassidy for his positions on entitlements and the minimum wage. Conservative Col. Rob Maness accused Cassidy of being a 'career politician' no different from Landrieu.”
“But Cassidy couldn’t hear them — the Republican wasn’t on the stage Thursday night.”
“…the spotlight in this critical Senate race shifted to Cassidy’s decision to ignore the contest’s first televised debate.”
And his absence allowed his rivals to hammer him with no resistance.
“'Our opponent that is not here tonight, I used to think he was kind of afraid of me because I can be a little tough at times,' said Landrieu, a Democrat. 'He’s afraid of the people of our state.'"
“But both seemed to be looking more for opportunities to knock Cassidy — or in Landrieu’s words, 'the guy who is not here.'"
“Democrats and Republicans alike are criticizing Cassidy for skirting this week’s debate with Landrieu. Conservative radio host RushLimbaugh read aloud a report that called him a ‘virtual candidate’ on Thursday, while Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) called him ‘cowardly’ in an interview.”
KPLC (NBC): Cassidy missing from senate debate
October 9, 2014
“…the first senate debate of the campaign but something was missing in New Orleans tonight... and that's Congressman Bill Cassidy. He declined to appear in the debate at Dillard University, but Senator Mary Landrieu and retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness did appear. Both hammered Cassidy for not being there.”
WDSU: Senate candidates square off, Cassidy declines invitation to participate
October 10, 2014
“Senate candidates Mary Landrieu and Rob Maness squared off in their first head-to-head debate. The candidates took on issues like immigration reform, national security and the Affordable Care Act. Landrieu is a three term incumbent who is in a tight race for re-election, while Maness is a political new comer.”
“This race for the senate is about leadership, it’s about leadership, it’s about clout, it’s about being able to deliver for the State of Louisiana even though Washington can be as times can be gridlocked, but my work on behalf of the people of this state has not stopped,” [said Landrieu].”
“Now, Republican Bill Cassidy declined our invitation to participate in this debate.”
Those who might be looking for Congressman Bill Cassidy, if they want to see more of him than mere TV commercials, might want to join Senator Vitter, Cassidy and Senator John McCain on the road.
Vitter has just tweeted:
Proud to be joining @BillCassidy & @SenJohnMcCain, this Sun & Mon for rallies across #Louisiana to honor veterans
Meanwhile the Congressman and some believe, the Senator-Elect has been busy making public appearances, even if it is not on stage with his competition.
Cassidy tweeted earlier today:
“Enjoyed meeting with the folks over at AFCO Industries in Alexandria. It's one of the largest employers in the region pic.twitter.com/IBjlhkPx4Y”
Current Louisiana Governor and Presidential hopeful came into office promising a transparency revolution and administration competency.
The report by The Advocate’s Marsha Shuler raises questions as to whether he is meeting success, at least in the minds of government employees.
Just how did the state’s health insurance program get into its current shaky financial condition?
Mismanagement by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration is a recurring theme among critics. They repeatedly note that a healthy $500 million-plus reserve fund not quite three years ago now sits at just over $200 million and it’s eroding more each month.
Jindal’s Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols and the state Office of Group Benefits officials blame the situation, in large part, on rising medical and pharmacy claims of the program’s 230,000 state employees, teachers, retirees and their dependents. Annual revenues simply don’t cover those costs, leading to the erosion of reserves.
At the same time, the administration lowered insurance premiums for two consecutive years — by a total of nearly 9 percent — so less money was coming in to pay those escalating claims.
VITTER, EBOLA AND AFRICA
One Louisiana US Senator is being accused of holding up Ebola aid because the money is going to Africa.
The Nation is reporting, “A Republican senator is urging his colleagues to hold up the $1 billion the White House has requested to combat the Ebola virus in part because the plan “focuses on Africa.”
“I ask you to oppose fully allowing the additional $1 billion in reprogramming requests until previously requested additional information is available for members of Congress to be fully briefed,” Louisiana Senator David Vitter wrote in a letter to members of the Senate Appropriations and Armed Services committees. The $1 billion that the administration has requested would be redirected from funds from the war operations budget to pay for the construction of medical facilities, supply distribution, medical training and for military and civilian personnel. Most of the money has been held up for nearly a month, as Republicans on key committees demand more details from the administration.
While Vitter criticized Obama for not fully presenting a plan, he apparently knows enough about it to be concerned that it “focuses on Africa, and largely ignores our own borders.” Vitter wants the United States to bar noncitizens traveling from countries affected by Ebola from entering the country.
LANDRIEU LOSING ENERGY?
The bad news keeps on coming for US Senator Mary Landrieu. Despite her clout up in Washington DC and the flow of contributions oiling her campaign, the Energy industry might be going in a different direction should she end up in a runoff with Bill Cassidy, who according to local polls is leading the race with the elections in slightly over three weeks.
Politico reports that the energy industry is somewhat split on who to support.