Friday, 08 June 2018 11:06

How to get Edwards, Louisiana Legislature out of the budget trick bag?

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We all know that the Louisiana legislature and Governor John Bel Edwards have failed in trying to solve the chronic mystery of the Louisiana fiscal cliff.

During a Facebook-Twitter Live interview, this week, I discussed this failure with the radio talk show host and Political Editor for the African American newspaper, The Louisiana Weekly, Christopher Tidmore.

We know that the governor and the legislature are in a tug of war within a trick bag. How do they get out? Are there any solutions?

Tidmore thinks there are painful solutions and discusses them below in the final part of our interview and discussion of the issue. Those wanting to watch the entire interview, it is below:

Can Governor Edwards, Louisiana legislature ever get budget together?

He's in a trick bag right now.  Right now, he gets hurt but the Republicans get blamed for the budget being- hurting tops effectively.  He doesn't get blamed.

SABLUDOWSKY: So, what's the compromise?

TIDMORE: And I'm saying this-- is somebody who looks at this every day who reads the bills, in order to get the House Republicans on basis, the governor will have to do some form of long term tax cut, that doesn't affect in the next two to three years, but affects either business or individuals long term. The problem is if he does that he may lose some of the Democrats he needs for the sales tax cut.  So it is a complex issue trying to keep the black, enough members of the Black Caucus in particular on board, and the Republicans is going to mean governor gives something on taxes that doesn't affect this revenue in the short term but does long term--and I don't know if there's the political will to do that. 

SABLUDOWSKY: I gotta tell you--principle is great, I mean you know everybody should live up to the principles to the full extent that they can, no question about that. But I got to tell you that we're talking about not even pennies fractions of pennies and I just cannot believe that we're gonna risk putting prisoners out on the street, we're going to tell our students sorry but you can't take that course anymore because we can't fund this university, we're gonna lose professors--I mean it just doesn't make any sense.  We're talking about a standstill budget, we're not talking about an increase, somebody has got to bite the bullet, bite the bullet and you're talking about such a small difference.

TIDMORE: And there's, and there's a lot of Republican chorus you say in a twenty-six twenty-seven billion dollar budget, that we can't find a million here, million there for those critical priorities is ridiculous.  And guess what--you're both right.  Part of the reason we can't do this is we have a screwed up Constitution that has a lot of dedicated stuff that we can't touch.

SABLUDOWSKY: That's why I think we need a convention.

TIDMORE: I agree, but when it comes down to it, they're just as many passionate people who come in and say--look, they're not saying let's put prisoners on the street, they're saying, "look the legislature and the governor aren't really doing their jobs and the fundamental legal restrictions and until they're willing to do that, we'll take the hit just to get them to be serious.  And you may disagree with it.  Look I disagree over 17 cents over a hundred.  I have a real problem saying that's not something we should give up but without being, what, willing to meet them halfway somewhere else, it's not as if these guys, there's a perception that these guys are greedy and stupid.

 SABLUDOWSKY: I know they're not

TIDMORE: They're not, but that's the perception out there that Republicans are basically doing this on pure stupid ideology, they actually have a reasonable argument.  It's the fact that the two sides are talking past each other to the point. And since John Bel Edwards is a Democrat not a Republican where there is hypocrisy--there are a lot of Republicans who don't want to give him a win on fundamental tax reform and I would I would blame the GOP mostly for this except, John Bel Edwards himself has not been somebody all that enthusiastic about a constitutional convention because remember--his wife is a teacher. He's very close to teachers and the first thing that would come off as a dedication is the absolute protection of K through 12 education from being cut. And that's something a lot of Democrats don't want and you can't that's most of the budget, so you're in a trick, you're in an ideological cycle. 

SABLUDOWSKY: There's no, I mean, based upon our economy, long-term dependency on oil, that is so uncertain, and I mean every year, every spring we get the same same crisis especially since 2008, I mean this is just nonsense. This is nonsense and I just think that as Tim Morris said in The Times Picayune--he called the a dumpster fire. 

TIDMORE: That's a very good way of putting it.

SABLUDOWSKY: Yea

TIDMORE: And yeah, that's what it is--it's a dumpster fire and I'm just I just think these people need to compromise, they need to compromise and it needs to be--it needs to be sooner rather than later.

I will say, we got 86 million dollars of tax renewals through the last session, which doesn't sound like much but when you're dealing with what was 186 million dollar deficit, it's not an insignificant portion.  And I think what we may be seeing, here's my guess, if a tax, if a sales tax passes, what the governor is most likely to give up, and Jay Dardenne arguing against this because it's gonna hurt us in so many ways fiscally--is basically say, "renew it for two years". Renew,  give me a half a penny for two years.  Let us get through the election

SABLUDOWSKY: But that hurts the bond ratings

TIDMORE: Yeah that hurts our bond rating, it's not a good, it's the least it's the most politically probable experience so that a lot of these Republicans can say we had to get through as that as the oil price was stabilizing to see where it went.  And at least we'll have an argument and that's the thing the governor doesn't have to give up anything but to be honest with you I will say the Commission of Administration, from a fiscal health standpoint and how what it's gonna cost Louisiana to do that, it's gonna cost us millions in bond rating, so I understand why Jay Dardenne doesn't want to do that and it's it's actually-- Dardenne in some ways is the grown up. 

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