The sky is falling, the sky is falling. At least the Louisiana fiscal sky is in a tailspin, or so says Governor John Bel Edwards and a number of legislative leaders. The hue and cry is for one billion dollars in new taxes along with significant fee increases. Even the local papers are chiming in with headlines like “The fiscal threat is real to colleges” and about to “get real.” What a poor taxpayer to think?
In the 2015 gubernatorial campaign, John Bel Edwards pretended he was a conservative Democrat. He emphasized his military background and his support for the pro-life cause and the Second Amendment. Thus, when he was elected, Louisiana supporters expected a somewhat conservative Governor who would steer the state in the right direction. Instead, voters have witnessed a typical “tax and spend” liberal Governor who is a proponent of a large state government and is resistant to tax and fiscal reform.
The war of words over how to deal with a budget deficit or otherwise in Louisiana annual parlance, the fiscal cliff, is mounting as the temporary sales tax comes to an end this week. The sales tax brings roughly one billion dollars into the state coffers.
Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has taken to the press pulpit to argue that Republican moderates want a plan presented by their members but the fiscal conservatives refuse to present one, thus, a budgetary showdown that will result in major reductions in government spending.
The incentive package that Louisiana offered to attract a new Toyota/Mazda plant had nothing to do with why the state lost out to Alabama. That Louisiana has an uncompetitive tax code, badly needs tort reform, and has uncertainty surrounding its industrial tax exemption program has everything to do with its jilting.
If you’ve been anywhere near a television set lately, whether in Baton Rouge or Boca Raton, you probably have watched that man with the wry grin, slow southern drawl, high-pitch voice answering questions about why he dissected the Trump judicial nominee, why he’s “fer or agin” tax reform, or whether the Russian probe is a worthwhile endeavor.
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.”
With the recent action by the Donald Trump Justice Department on the issue of Marijuana criminal enforcement on the mind, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has written a letter to President Trump asking for his assistance on the new state law involving medical marijuana.
While he didn’t exactly treat Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards as if Louisiana’s chief executive didn’t exist, Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras did make clear who called the shots over the state’s fiscal year 2019 picture and beyond.
In Louisiana, a number of Jefferson and St. Tammany Parish officials were aghast a few years ago over a proposal to sell the Causeway Bridge that goes to the North Shore across Lake Pontchartrain. When the state’s largest paper, the Times Picayune, mixed the idea editorially, one elected official after the other fell all over themselves running away from even any talk of such an atrocity.
On Monday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards spoke in general terms about his plans for the upcoming fiscal cliff which is anticipated to be around $1 billion for the year beginning July 1, 2018. At a luncheon today Edwards delivered remarks at an event hosted by Committee of 100, Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL), Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) and the Louisiana Budget Project.