Below is the query and response for today's edition of Bernie Burns:
.Now that the legislative session and gubernatorial vetoes issues are over, the legislators are now ready to focus upon their own re-elections. What lessons would you think the GOP and Democratic legislators would take from the recent legislative experience?
Just about every legislator went home and found very few mom and pop voters upset with them for raising taxes on businesses. After all, very few, if any mom and pop’s back home ask legislators to raise revenue for anything, especially to avoid budget cuts. Survey after survey continues to show Louisiana tax payers are opposed to paying another dime to fund additional revenue for higher education, health care or anything else! Mom and Pop’s hero in Louisiana is State Treasurer John Kennedy – Kennedy is the most popular statewide elected official PERIOD! Kennedy is a lock mortal cinch to replace David Vitter, if Vitter is our next Governor.
Back here in Louisiana, John Kennedy is the elected official most voters believe when it comes to any discussion of our annual revenue crisis. John Kennedy is popular because he repeats over and over what most voters believe when it comes to our annual budget deficits - we have a spending problem, not a lack of revenue problem! Year after year voters are warned of the impending fiscal disaster – it never happens! This year’s annual dire predictions started in late 2014 – the sky is falling. We have a one point six billion deficit – we are going to shut down our universities and lose our credit rating. Voters back home showed little to no interest.
A survey done by SMOR in December 2014 showed voters were not interested in paying another dime in taxes to save universities even if it meant closing doors to students. If I am a university president, this finding would have caused serious heart burn – college graduates are the most anti-tax group - no new taxes from them to save higher ed. University presidents did what they always do – they rounded up the local chamber of commerce trough hog businessmen and lobbied their legislator to raise taxes on someone. So what did our legislators do – they all knew raising taxes on mom and pop back home would get them unelected. Gee, let’s raise additional revenue from business – especially since members of the business community are the only entity lobbying for more revenue. Reducing business exemptions and raising utility cost is a soft political target plus mom and pop will remain uninterested.
This last session was business as usual –the state faced a huge deficit, if you believe there was a deficit – but request for funding from local governments and local pork project spending continued unabated. Did anyone notice these businessmen were not interested in spending reforms – was any effort made to improve graduation rates at most of our universities and assure mom and pop this additional revenue was justified. Silly question: answer is nope–John Kennedy really appreciates when taxpayer’s money is spent without fiscal constraints or justification. It is like throwing Kennedy in a briar patch. More good zingers to use on taxpayers.
Bringing home the pork did not reelect Mary Landrieu, voters spoke loud and clear on this issue. Landrieu’s ads on ship building and all those jobs – really! We absolutely do not elect our congress person to bring home pork from D C. Just the exact opposite! Louisiana voters are among the top five conservative red states – tax and spend ant popular! Back home the chamber crowd seldom get voters to increases local taxes, so they show up at our state capitol and demand area legislators fund local pork – facing a huge deficit does not bother them.
I do not need poll results on the opinion of most small businesses in Louisiana- absolute no when it comes to paying more taxes for state spending. The fiscal instability was not fixed and the next governor inherits a huge financial mess and yes businesses in Louisiana, you are still in the cross hairs as the most likely target for increasing revenue. Mom and pop tax payer will continue to agree with Treasurer John Kennedy – we have a spending problem and most are not interested in paying another dime to state government. Nothing happened during the 2015 legislative session to restore mom and pop’s confidence their taxes dollars are being spent properly.