by Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of Louisiana Business and Industry
For almost three years, the state Capitol has been absolutely, positively one thing: chaotic.
The 6th special session during this time-period begins this week and will once again pit the Administration’s desire for tax revenue against the Legislature’s lack of consensus on that very topic. This plotline should sound familiar by now.
This just-completed Louisiana regular session was known, in part, for its division—left vs. right, Democrats vs. Republicans, House of Representatives vs. Senators. However, every once in a while, the legislators came to agreements.
The Louisiana legislative session, part two, is finally coming to an end. Part one occurred earlier this year as a special fiscal session, in which the legislature could not agree upon a budget at all. However, given that the legislature could not raise revenues during the part two or regular session this year, that just might occur on Tuesday, when another special session kicks off, or, shall we say, legislative session, part three?
Why is Governor John Bel Edwards having so many problems with the Louisiana legislature? Is he simply a weak administrator who--for one reason or not--cannot get the Republican dominated legislative bodies to support his agenda? Or is he a strong governor who simply faces a recalcitrant republican-controlled legislature and GOP-based business community, who are using their political clout to limit his power for political purposes? Or, are there some other reasons?
Political parties are at a low ebb both in Louisiana and throughout the rest of the country. Public opinion often dips below 40% approval rating in numerous national and statewide polling. Voters continue to lose faith in how both Democrats and Republicans govern. When asked why people belong to a certain party, the negative views of the opposing party are often given. In other words, “I’m a Democrat because I can’t stand the "Republicans” and visa versa.
Another spring, another special session.
Is it the sixth since Governor John Bel Edwards took over from Bobby Jindal? Like Sally Bowes sang in Cabaret, "maybe this time"?
As the Louisiana regular session comes to an abrupt close this week, the special session focused upon a gaping $650 million hole, begins Tuesday. After two successive shoo shoos fiscal sessions meant to make up the difference in what the state spent this year and what it has money to spend next year, it is hard to be very confident that a solution will come at hand.
Our Louisiana Legislature loves to pass laws that restrict the behavior of the residents of our state. This increases the power of the “Nanny State” government and also brings in needed revenue for bureaucracies.
The latest effort is a bill to ban the use of a handheld cell phone in a vehicle. The bill will lead to a large fine on the first offense and an even larger one on the next offense.
Is Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards being fair or is he "over the top", scaring seniors with potential "kick-you-out-of-nursing-homes" letters as a result of the budget standoff with the Republican House of Representatives? And why scare seniors, Governor Edwards, have you sent out contract-reduction letters to the Saints and the Pelicans?
The Purge, Class Rank, Greyhound, The Highwayman, Kevin Costner, Woody Harrelson—the Louisiana film industry and tax credits are signs that there’s plenty of shooting going on around the state.
As a result of the filming, jobs are being created.
There is a disturbing article in a recent issue of Atlantic Magazine by a prominent physician at the University of Pennsylvania. Ezekiel J. Emanuel is an oncologist, a bioethicist, and a vice provost of the University, and is the author or editor of 10 books, including Reinventing American Health Care. So he is a bright guy who knows a lot about health. His premise is that no one, in this day and age, should aspire to live longer than 75 years of age.