LEGISLATIVE SESSION AND JOHN BEL EDWARDS
(From Louisiana Budget Project)
The year's second special revenue-raising session got off to a quick start on Tuesday morning, with more than 30 bills flying through the tax-writing House Ways & Means Committee. But Gov. John Bel Edwards first addressed the Legislature, assuring lawmakers that their work to close a $600 million gap in next year's budget is far from over. Edwards' plan to close that gap includes modest increases in personal income taxes that would mostly fall on wealthy households.
... we must enact real, meaningful tax reform and close the $600 million deficit remaining for the fiscal year beginning July 1. That's less than a month away, if you needed any more sense of urgency. ... I'm also asking you to reduce the excess itemized deductions on individual income taxes. This proposal would bring our deduction to 57.5 percent - what it was before we even implemented the Stelly Plan. But, the best part about this proposal is that it will not impact 74 percent of the individuals in our state; and at 57.5 percent, it fully protects charitable donation and mortgage interest deductions. There are other proposals as well, including bracket compression and single sales apportionment on corporate income and franchise taxes. Many of these proposals have been discussed in Louisiana for years; the only difference is that we don't have the option of waiting any longer.
But the governor's agenda got off to a rough start in committee. The Advocate's Tyler Bridges reports that House Republicans remain opposed to any income-tax changes:
But the governor ran into a wall of opposition among Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee to his proposals that would raise individual income taxes by taking away tax deductions or by changing tax brackets. Republicans used their 12-7 majority on the committee to keep those tax measures from advancing. All three of them would have hit upper- and middle-income taxpayers in the pocketbook, in a state where the poor pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes.
CAROLINE FAYARD, CLINTON AND TRUMP
Caroline Fayard Notes Historic Moment as Sec. Clinton Clinches Nomination; Condemns Racist Remarks by Trump
Last night, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for President of the United States. Caroline Fayard issued the following statement in reaction to the news:
“Last night history was made by Hillary Clinton becoming the first woman to be nominated by a major party for President of the United States. Both Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders inspire millions of Americans daily by talking about issues that unite us instead of intentionally dividing us. This morning I join Speaker Paul Ryan, Senator Mark Kirk, Senator Lindsay Graham and a growing number of leaders on both sides of the aisle in condemning what Speaker Ryan labeled "racist" remarks by Mr. Trump. America deserves better.”
MANESS GETS ENDORSEMENT
The Republican Liberty Caucus (RLC) has endorsed retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness for United States Senate in Louisiana.
RLC Chairman Matt Nye said, "Col. Rob Maness has stood tirelessly for liberty in his fight to get elected to the U.S. Senate. There is no better fit than Maness, he stands in staunch opposition to the Federal Reserve system and has the resources needed to win. We wholeheartedly support his campaign and ask all of our members to help him win."
Maness said, "I'm honored to receive the endorsement of the Republican Liberty Caucus. The RLC is known for its unwavering commitment to liberty and there are few groups in the liberty movement that hold more sway than they do. My priority in the United States Senate will always be to defend the Constitution and expand individual liberty at every turn possible. I will be a consistent voice for fiscal restraint, monetary reform and our civil liberties."
Col. Rob Maness is an outsider, fighter and proven leader. During a 32-year career in the Air Force, he rose from the lowest enlisted rank at age 17 to full Colonel. He would go on to lead a B-1 bomber squadron into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, command the sixth largest Air Force base in the world and serve as an advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff where he helped author the plan for the global War on Terror. Following his time in the military, Col. Maness ran for U.S. Senate in 2014 as a complete political unknown and ended up receiving over 200,000 vote's in that years jungle primary. In the 2016 race for Senate, he has been endorsed by Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Sarah Palin, Dr. James Dobson, Mary Matalin, UFC fighter and Green Beret Tim Kennedy, Congressman Tom Tancredo, General Paul Vallely, Breeders Cup Champion Al Stall Jr., Pastor Brian Gunter, Tea Party of Louisiana, Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Forward, National Association for Gun Rights, Americans for Legal Immigration, Conservative Campaign Committee, Combat Veterans for America, Special Operations Speaks PAC, National Defense PAC and many more.
SMART ON CRIME
Smart on Crime Louisiana praised passage of eight criminal justice reform bills that will help lower the Pelican State's high recidivism rates. Formed in 2014, the Smart on Crime coalition is a bipartisan group of business and community leaders seeking to reduce the nation's highest incarceration rate while improving public safety and saving taxpayer dollars. The passage of the following bills signals a growing sentiment in the legislature that a smarter approach to criminal justice is long overdue:
· HB7 by Rep. Ed Price - Allows for certain offenses to be expunged after ten years. Offenders must be crime-free and ten years of consistent employment is required.
· HB145 by Rep. Helena Moreno - Provides for the issuance of a Certificate of Employability by a Reentry Court, bolstering employment opportunities for those under supervision of a Reentry Court.
· HB146 by Rep. Helena Moreno - Provides a limitation of liability for mentors to help guide supervised individuals towards productive and crime-free lives.
· HB266 by Rep. Denise Marcelle - Ensures that former inmates have a fair chance to explain their record when applying for a government job.
· HB347 by Rep. Mike Danahay - Authorizes the 14th, 21st, and 32nd Judicial District Courts to operate reentry courts, increasing the number of offenders that can receive the expanded services available through these specialty courts.
· HB894 by Rep. Major Thibaut - Provides for detailed reporting on the Offender Reentry Support Pilot Program within the Pointe Coupee Sheriff's Office, a program that helps facilitate successful reentry for former inmates.
· HB1022 by Rep. Rick Edmonds - Provides for the suspension of certain sentences upon completion of Reentry Court, increasing the number of offenders that can benefit from access to the expanded services and intensive supervision of a specialty court.
· HB1052 by Rep. Cameron Henry - Creates the "Swift And Certain Probation Pilot Program" in the 24th Judicial District Court in order to implement and monitor a system of sanctioning that provides intensive supervision and reduces recidivism.
Earlier this year, Smart on Crime Louisiana released a new video to educate constituents and lawmakers about the success of reentry programs. Despite annual spending on corrections that hovers around $700 million, Louisiana still suffers from high recidivism rates. In fact, nearly four in 10 ex-offenders land back in prison within three years of release.
To view the website, click here.
Click here to watch the video.
"With the passage of these bills, Louisiana lawmakers have taken important steps to improve our criminal justice system," coalition member Kevin Kane said.
"These changes will help more ex-offenders join the workforce and become productive members of their communities. This will reduce recidivism rates, keep us safer and save tax dollars. The legislature, the Governor and the Department of Corrections can all be commended for their commitment to implementing reforms that have been proven to work."
For more information, visit SmartOnCrimeLA.com.