After the election, a different John Bel Edwards emerged. As Governor, he advocated an expansion of rights for the LGBT community and supported a number of controversial tax increases. For example, he advocated increasing state sales taxes in 2016 to plug a massive hole in the budget. This year, he agreed to a 0.45% extension of that sales tax increase.
While our state and local sales tax rate is the second highest in the nation, we are thankfully not going to raise gasoline taxes because the Governor’s proposal for a massive increase was defeated by Louisiana legislators this year.
Clearly, Edwards is a typical “tax and spend” Democrat. He supports tax increases and wants to grow Louisiana state government, which is already too large. Per capita, Louisiana has the seventh highest number of state and local employees among the 50 states.
Our state government needs a severe reduction, but it will not happen as long as John Bel Edwards is Governor. He wants more people dependent on government services which is why he expanded our Medicaid rolls by over 400,000 people. Eventually, this expansion will cause severe financial strain on the Louisiana budget, so Republicans supported measures in the legislative session this year to combat Medicaid fraud. Not surprisingly, all of these measures were defeated because Governor Edwards opposed them.
In the next election, his GOP opponents will have plenty of political ammunition to attack the Governor. Sadly, we are one of only eight states to lose population last year. While other Southern states are booming, Louisiana has the worst economy in the nation, according to a WalletHub study, ranking a dismal 51st in their sobering survey.
Despite these challenges, Edwards has raised a formidable amount of money, with over $5 million in his campaign war chest. This will help Edwards promote his message, but it will not protect him from the predictable attacks that he is out of step with average Louisiana voters.
While most Louisiana voters are conservative, Edwards is definitely closer to a liberal than a moderate. Compared to the socialist wing of the Democratic Party, Edwards is a raging conservative, but in his home state, his political ideology makes him vulnerable in the next election.
Should John Bel Edwards win re-election? Do you favor one of his potential opponents? Cast your vote in ourwww.RingsidePolitics.com poll.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]