There were several gatherings at the state capitol in Baton Rouge last week. Former legislators gathered for their annual reunion to catch up on old friendships and reminisce about past legislative accomplishments. And the few living delegates from the 1973 Louisiana Constitutional Convention were honored for their service as talk of a new convention was being debated in the capitol halls. One theme ran through both gatherings. Why aren’t problems being solved? Why so little cooperation? Where is the vision?
Once again, special interests win at the expense of Louisiana taxpayers and its most vulnerable citizens. These greedy hogs yesterday defeated in committee SB 357 by Republican state Sen. Conrad Appel, which today caused Republican state Rep. Tony Bacala to set aside his HB 334. Both bills would put the state on course to creating a long-term managed care system for persons with disabilities. This change in philosophy discomfits nursing home interests, who benefit greatly from current state practice that biases placement of individuals in nursing homes instead of in their own homes or the community. While waiting lists for access to this care, called waiver programs, has steadily risen to 28,000 people, Louisiana nursing homes enjoy a gravy train at their expense.
Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards responded to the decision by Attorney General Jeff Landry not to open the Alton Sterling investigation. The governor noted that the Louisiana Department of Justice followed the process as outlined by law but also backed an administrative review to determine any disciplinary action to be undertaken.
Can the Louisiana Republicans finally get major cuts to the budget as the fiscal hawks have demanded for years? How much of a budget hole is there? Why did the Louisiana legislative fiscal session, called last month to fill an almost one-billion dollar hole, fail without anything to show for its efforts? Did Governor John Bel Edwards have a firm plan? Can we really blame the Republicans for its lack of unity as the Governor has done with the special session fizzle or were the Democrats just as divided?
If you think about it, aren't the Louisiana Republican legislators in the driver's seat to be able to fix that onerous and seemingly ever-present, fiscal cliff?
I think so. And, apparantly, so does Rob Maness, who like the fiscal hawks in the House of Representatives and some in the Senate, want budget cuts now and deep and reasonable. They, along with just about everybody in the state are tired of the annual budget crises. They have been urging primarily the scapel and reform, others favor less knife and more gas, or revenues, to soften the blow of less governmental services.
And guess what? It seems since the Republicans control the Louisiana legislature, they can make those cavernous cuts without the help or"interference" of the Democrats (some might say). This could mean Republican slamming down the peddle preventing various factions, including even Governor John Bel Edwards, from having any real say.
As we have come to expect from the left, caricature and oversimplification make for lots of red meat thrown to the unthinking masses, but it’s a lousy method for valid understanding of public policy ramifications.
Just such as example comes from a leftist opinion writer named David Leonhardt on the pages of the New York Times. In a recent piece, he attempted to use Louisiana’s income tax cutting during the former Gov. Bobby Jindal years as an indictment against that option, alleging that promises that “tax cuts would lead to an economic boom” didn’t pan out and produced the state’s budgetary difficulty.
"Get your free stuff"
On Monday, US Senator John Kennedy took questions from WGSO 990 conservative radio talk show host and Bayoubuzz columnist, Jeff Crouere, on a range of issues, ranging from North Korea dictator's haircut to a major haircutting the Louisiana budget needs this year during the legislative session. Kennedy has been touted as the key contender to Democrat John Bel Edwards's stay at the Governor's mansion with the election approaching next year.
Amid the existence of severe distrust among various factions of the Louisiana legislature, Governor John Bel Edwards on Monday addressed the opening of the Louisiana legislative regular session.
Earlier in the morning, Warren Bell (WBOK News Director, anchor of the "The Morning Cup" news show) captured some of the existing anger, frustration and distrust among the legislators. His guest, New Orleans Senator JP Morrelll, provided the background information and details.