Friday, 05 June 2015 13:43
The doozy acts to SAVE JIndal's last legislative budget
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Kennedy-interview2Welcome to the world of Louisiana government "white is black" and "up is down" time.  Yep, we’re coming upon the last days of the legislative session.  Being $1.6B in the hole, it’s a doozy, if ever one, so much so--it's making me dizzy,with confusion. 

 

We're down to four days and a weekend full of indecisions.  We have no idea if the state will be shutting down universities, healthcare facilities, passing a budget, overriding a budget veto or what?  We don’t know if there will be a legislative special session immediately after this regular session, a veto, a veto override.  We are certain about one thing however.  Governor Bobby Jindal, who almost single-handedly caused this budget calamity, is running for President and will announce officially from the safe confines of New Orleans, a city having nothing in common with the governor whatsoever.

It just feels like today is yesterday, which is tomorrow, that never was and never will be.

Understand?  If not, here’s what I mean:

ALARIO

Former Democrat, Louisiana Senate President John Alario is playing the loyal soldier role and is either doing a grand job of protecting Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s tail.  Alternatively, due to Jindal's veto threat, he genuinely believes a bad budget deal is better than a bad budget veto.  The man that republicans once vilified only a few years ago as being a untrustworthy former democrat after Jindal hand-picked him to head the Senate--has hands-down become the governor’s most-dependable legislator. 

KENNEDY AND THE SAVING BOBBY ACT

Treasurer John Kennedy, who has done a terrific job vilifying Jindal and his administration for budget gimmicks, smoke and mirrors, use of one-time monies and sleight-of-hands tricks, apparently is willing to accept the ultimate gimmick—Jindal’s SAVE bill.  Unwillingly, I might add, but still he seems to feel that putting down the sword would be more logical than fighting the good fight one last day.

As LaPolitics has pointed out, Treasurer Kennedy,"The easiest and most prudent thing to do would be to go ahead and just pass the SAVE bill," Kennedy said. "Everyone knows it's nonsense and a gimmick. But it's not the biggest gimmick he has asked the Legislature to pass. It'll make him happy and we can always come back and get rid of it." 

The SAVE bill is the legislation that deceives the public and his future potential voters out in conservative USA, that a tax is really a fee which is really a tax credit, which is really a butt-saver for the taxer.

Instead of being honest to the world and say his own policies made him do it, Jindal wants to pretend that a fee upon university students (that is not paid) that triggers a tax credit (that is not credited to the students)  which the Board of Regents can use to fund higher education is not really a massive tax increase. 

Which means if you take this Jindal concoction to the logical step, arguably, Louisiana legislators will never have to ever raise taxes again.  Or never ever having to admit it, again.  Republicans and Democrats in the future can claim to be revenue neutral.  All they would need to do is create a fee and a tax credit and use that instrument to paper over the tax revenues they raise.  Wanna increase the budget by another ten billion?  No sweat.  How about another JINDAL-SAVE credit?  Sure!

Yet, according to reports, the House of Representatives, which traditionally has been the most trust-worthy legislative body to the “conservative” governor now has over 80 house members willing to override a Jindal veto of the budget--if it does not include his SAVE-HIS-OWN-BUTT BILL.  Unquestionably, the House is taking names of willing representatives to send a message to the governor and to the Senate that they know the governor is pushing a gimmick and while it might not be the “easiest” and “most prudent” thing to do, it is the right thing to do.

LABI LOBBY

Meanwhile LABI reportedly is threatening to take action against even the most conservative republican members for voting for taxes this year, regardless of the fact that they have been more than “revenue neutral” over the past 8-Years under Governor Jindal.  LABI tells us that we need a strong higher education system, but, when it comes to funding it, so far, just look elsewhere.  Never-mind that the state business community has been the direct beneficiaries to tax protections under Jindal and this legislative body.  Never mind that LABI has not articulated a cogent plan how to maintain that very higher-ed system its members need in the coming years to fill those thousands of jobs we are supposed to be soon seeing.  In this era of short memories, the Louisiana business community will do what it does best—use its money and political leverage to create an environment most advantageous to business interests—hey, what's wrong with that?

AND THE DEMOS

The Louisiana Democratic Party condemns Jindal and various Republican House and Senator members for not toting the line against Jindal’s SAVE act.  At the top of the democratic list is saving higher education and healthcare.  Yet, the higher education community itself has strongly backed the SAVE plan, in short, because its own bread is being buttered, better.

Confused?

If so, you’re on solid ground.  

THE LATEST

Senators have started passing tax bills to help raise new dollars for next year's budget.

With a 28-7 vote Friday, the Senate agreed to temporarily suspend a 1-cent state sales tax exemption on the purchase of electricity, steam and water for utilities by businesses.

The suspension would last for one year and raise $103 million for the state general fund.

It was the first in a package of tax bills to generate $750 million for the upcoming budget year, to stop cuts to public colleges and health care services.

The Senate was expected to take up other parts of the package later Friday.

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry was trying to kill the bills, sending out emails urging people to "Take Action! Stop massive tax increases on businesses."

http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=X0Cqffws

House lawmakers that would have Gov. Bobby Jindal's office paying his security detail costs for his extensive out-of-state travel.

The House proposed transferring $2.5 million from Jindal's office next year to the state police to cover the price tag of state troopers traveling with the Republican governor. The Senate Finance Committee, however, stripped that plan from the budget proposal Thursday

http://www.ktbs.com/story/29247183/senators-refuse-to-charge-jindals-office-for-travel-costs

Gov. Bobby Jindal will decide whether to place new spending restrictions on the TOPS free college tuition program.

With a 28-6 vote Wednesday, the Louisiana Senate gave final legislative passage to the bill by Sen. Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville.

The Republican governor opposed the cost-control measure, but his office hasn't said whether Jindal will strike it down.

http://www.wwltv.com/story/news/local/2015/06/04/jindal-tops-/28487025/


The House committee’s action infuriated Donahue, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, which promptly amended several of Robideaux’s bills that were pending in the Senate so that each incorporated Donahue’s SAVE Act. For good measure, another Senate committee gutted Robideaux’s bill to reform and vastly improve the state film tax credit program.

In response, Robideaux amended his film tax credit bill onto a Senate bill that was pending in the House. Each maneuver upped the ante and increased tensions between the House and Senate. In normal times, the governor would have intervened — but that would require executive leadership. These are not normal times.

On this one I have to agree with Robideaux. The SAVE Act should more aptly be called the SAVE Face Act because all it does is allow Jindal to claim that he didn’t raise taxes when, in truth, that’s exactly what he’s asking lawmakers to do.

http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2015/06/05/collateral-damage-in-lege-budget-war

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