Governor John Bel Edwards and his administration claims that the state needs to raise the sales tax to 4.5 cents this legislative session beginning Monday. If the legislature, particularly the House do not produce enough votes to hit that supermajority needed to raise taxes, Edwards and others are claiming that fiscal hell will break loose. They claim that University kids and parents will have to fork over 30 percent of the TOPS scholarship plus the colleges would be in the hole close to over 100 million dollars. They claim that homes for the aged will close, food stamps disappear, 10,000 non-violent criminals will hit the streets.
As we know, Louisiana is, has been, and probably will be in a fiscal mess, year after year, until and unless we identify and then fix the problem.
For the past ten years, and at times prior to the start of the Bobby Jindal administraton, the budget has been unbalanced until the magic, smoke and mirrors took over to create a false balanced budget, financed often with one-time money.
We have teachers leaving their classes, protesting low pay and inadequate financial support for schools; Kids are taking off from class in droves, making sure their once muted voices are being heard on matters such as gun-control and weapons in schools. Once again, the state budget is a total mess and the voters are up in arms.
On Thursday, the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) released a poll of Louisiana conducted by a collaborative effort of pollsters Bernie Pinsonat and Greg Rigamer, voters have strong feelings about the government and the Internet, in light of the Net Neutrality and the now almost-ubiquitous use of that service in Louisiana and in America.
Tomorrow, Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to call for a Louisiana legislative special session which would begin roughly seven days later, if things go as being reported. Edwards had urged the Republicans to come up with a plan to fix the roughly one billion dollar hole for the year starting July 1, 2018, or no session would be called.
They haven’t. Nonetheless, Edwards is left with little other choice. If they were to wait until after the regular session is complete, in the beginning of June, there would not be sufficient time for parents to plan for tuition, for schools to plan schedules and for hospitals to plan their respective budget which starts weeks later.
The Louisiana capitol is ready to start its Louisiana Legislature tax chicken dance. On one side of the floor are Governor, John Bel Edwards and democrats. On another side are fiscal conservatives. And, in the middle are a group of lawmakers who believe the state is reaching a moment of urgency.
The question is—who’s going to take the first step and blink as the music is quickly getting ready to start?
Winter is still here. The Louisiana days are getting a little longer. The threat of another special session to plug a massive hole in the budget is getting closer.
The mantra of fiscal cliff still fills the air as it has now winter after winter, year after year.
As of now, what is the shape of the Louisiana political waterfront?
This was the gist of a series of questions I asked political analyst and pollster Bernie Pinsonat during a Facebook and Twitter live video conference we held on Wednesday.
Last night, the world watched President Donald Trump give his first State of the Union speech. Politically, it resonated throughout America. What about in Louisiana? More broadly, what can politicians and legislators learn from the Trump phenomena as they approach the upcoming elections and the legislative session?
A recent poll by Southern Media and Opinion Research shows that Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards enjoys a 65% approval rating among voters. Edwards, the only statewide elected Democrat, has seen a surge in his poll numbers since the last legislative session.
Unfortunately for Edwards, there is a legislative session slated to begin in the spring. According to pollster Bernie Pinsonat, the Governor’s “job ratings are apparently affected by legislative sessions with talk of taxes and budget deficits.”