by Rep. Tim Burns, Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
Louisiana is facing perhaps its worst fiscal crises in decades and this time no one is exaggerating for political rhetoric purposes. I spoke recently to the state’s chief economist, who put it quite bluntly; “We have a $1.6 billion deficit and this one is REAL. Listen to me! It’s REAL!” It’s not as if the other deficits were fake, but they always happened to be paired with some handy one time money to fill the gap. This time there’s no Katrina money or stimulus money or BP money or rainy day money or some other money pot or two tucked away somewhere convenient that’s going to magically appear to save the day.
If state Rep. Franklin Foil knows what’s going on with his HB 62, he’s the only one.
Foil’s bill would amend the Constitution to get rid partially of the odd artifact that any new fee imposition or existing fee increase by a state agency needs a two-thirds vote in each chamber of the Legislature to go through. As it applies specifically to academia, this includes both fees and tuition.
by Tom Aswell, Publisher of LouisianaVoice.com
The Oct. 11 primary election for governor is still seven months off but it’s never too early for conducting polls to see the early seeding of candidates and an early poll has shown a surprisingly strong showing by Democratic State Rep. John Bel Edwards of Amite. MARCH 6 POLL
by Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher of Fax-NET
Jindal bringing up the rear
A new national poll by Quinnipiac University of potential GOP presidential candidates has Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal bringing up the rear out of nine contenders for the party’s nomination.
The Obama administration today has provided details regarding his TechHire Initiative which is a multi-sector effort to help provide skills to fill the growing number of technology jobs. The effort also makes $100M available in grants. To date, 21 communities have responded to the President's Call to Action and numerous tech companies are involved.
by Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of Louisiana Business and Industry
There are two states of Louisiana right now.
One Louisiana is the private sector economy. This state is on the verge of sustainable growth not seen in generations. As I travel the state to visit with LABI’s business members, most of them are optimistic that Louisiana is growing in the right direction and that the future is bright. The state has billions of dollars in new projects, a record number of private sector employees and we expect to reach 2 million non-farm workers for the first time in history this year. Louisiana is projected to average an increase in 75,000 jobs per year for the next decade, with a third of those positions being new jobs we have not had before in Louisiana. We lead the nation in export and manufacturing growth and our GDP is at historic levels. Sure, Louisiana has its challenges like any other economy, but the people of this state are benefiting from the opportunity that comes with an improving private sector economy.
Early this morning, as combing through the news, I thought to myself—“hey, it’s Monday. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal must have a new column somewhere in the national media. If so, this would make it his 48th column in recent years.” Maybe it is his 49th, I have lost track.
In all the talk about finding ways to bring Louisiana’s fiscal year 2016 budget into balance, through spending cuts and/or revenue additions, an obvious policy change of the former should stand out – limit welfare receipts to those who already receive some forms of assistance if they have another child.
Gov. Bobby’s ill-fated, self-serving decision to opt out of a Medicaid expansion for Louisiana is beginning to pay off in an ever-expanding crisis in medical care for the indigent population of Louisiana—on at least two fronts.