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.
Let's suppose you're the Governor of one of the worst performing states. You're a Democrat in a very conservative state in a very conservative region. You know the revenues on the table in a Republican dominated legislature cannot come close to meeting your obligations to match even last year's budget. You and most of your legislators are running for re-election. The Republican party is gunning for your head since you beat one of them to win the keys to the mansion. You called a special session in the spring, which failed to create a compromise on a budget for next year. After the ordinary legislative session completed, you called another one, which again blew up with very little to show for the roughly $1.4 million dollars spent to get to almost zero done for the second time in four months. And now, with the new fiscal year going into effect, you have no choice but to call another one but you know that the two political extremes simply don't see eye to eye and appear to want to defy the other extreme, simply to make a point.
This is the proximate situation Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is currently facing as time is running out for a budget fix and possibly even in his political career as governor should he not achieve a legislative win.
On Wednesday, Christopher Tidmore and I discussed Edwards's options. Tidmore is the political editor for the Louisiana Weekly and talk radio show host.
Here is the first part of the conversation. Below is the video and transcript part 2 of this particular segment, which starts at the 35 minute, 58 second mark on the video. Part 3, tomorrow:
The administration so far has not been willing to agree to a tax of less than five years for a legitimate reason. Five years is the minimum part that Wall Street considers funding when it comes to the bond rating. So they can't really put that on the table otherwise we might have had a deal already for two years, just get us through the election, possibly, possibly not. So what else is the governor willing to do because from a political standpoint. The question is what is the governor willing to do to say to the Republicans--I can give you this and get it will give you cover, because you are taking a politically risky stand. It's not about the comparatively small a bit of money.
It's about the ideological statement that Republican who was elected on an absolute platform of no new taxes has already allowed one sales tax to go on for two or three years, for two years--18 months really-- and had told his constituents it was completely temporary for crisis. Now he's basically extending half of that for five years. The governor needs to come up and say to him in old fashioned political horse trading, and not "hey you got a road in your district which is how the governor is thinking"--something on a rather large scale that comes through. What is that? I thought for a while what the governor was going to endorse was a constitutional convention--the idea that was pushed by Neal Abramson. Personal animosity between the governor and Abramson, even Abramson is a Democratic, he tends to vote with Republicans.
He's a committee chairman--has pretty much killed that for now, at least for the this session. And I don't know what else the governor can give up that actually would make a difference at this late date. And I think what's going on between the administration representatives particularly Jay Dardenne and Taylor Barras, is this--"look, we got to pass the half-penny. There's no way around this, we're not going to call the revenue estimating conference back, that's off the table" Maybe it's not but I'm guessing it is in the next seven days.
So, what can we do for you to get this passed that doesn't involve a large budgetary cut--beyond one or two percent? And I think there's a lot of flummoxed in the administration about what they can do--because remember John Bel Edwards is himself going into a very tough reelection. He cannot afford--he's a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat. The thing he's gonna be talking about, believe it or not in this election, is how he passed a 15 week abortion limit, because it's gonna get him credibility with conservatives and it doesn't hurt him with African-Americans who tend to be socially conservative.
But if he starts giving away economic stuff, it could affect African-American turnout and poor Democratic turnout and affect his reelection which will already be tight. It will not be the 60-40 David Vitter type of thing. And he's in a trick bag. Right now, he gets hurt but the Republicans get blamed for the budget being-- hurting TOPS effectively. If he doesn't get blamed .
The Louisiana fiscal session, part two, called to fix the budget that is one more time out of whack, is now history. What’s a state to do? The economy is flat. The people are poor and poorly educated with some of the worst health conditions in the country. The education system is third rate, compared to some of the leading states in the nation. Survey after survey places Louisiana in the pits, if not, competing for that unlofty spot. What’s a state, specifically, Louisiana to do to provide for the necessary needs of its citizens?
This essentially is the debate between conservative and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, the legislature and the Governor, John Bel Edwards.
Last rites for the Republican-controlled House and Senate?
According to two Louisiana politicos, political writer Christopher Tidmore and pollster and analyst John Couvillon of JMC Polling and Analytics, right now, it's doom and gloom time at the not-so-ok GOP corral.
Yet, we know that mid-term elections are six months away. Based upon the 2016 elections, one can never say "never" in the age of Trump. Still, as the present is precursor to the future, judging by Couvillon's and Tidmore's view of the national political landscape, there could be plenty of cursing and blaming among the ranks of Republicans, this November coming.
A landslide loss of historic proportions? A blue wave ready to engulf America? Are the warning signs currently present that should tell the Republican party nationally to be ready to embrace the worst?
What’s going to happen with the popular tuition program for Louisiana university students, called TOPS? Will any part of the penny sales tax that was passed as a temporary measure two years ago remain on the books? Back then, the legislature, facing a nearly one-billion dollar shortfall that needed to be made up in a matter of three months, arising from the Governor Bobby Jindal administration budget meltdown worsened by lower oil prices, opted for a single penny sales tax that will sunset later this year.
Facing a political party adversary, who happens to be an ambitious politician, hoping to be the next Louisiana governor, is not the way that New Orleans Mayor-elect, LaToya Cantrell, wants to spend the next six month as she pieces together her transition team and ultimately her city government staff-- until she gets sworn in as New Orleans Mayor, May 2017.
Ok, folks. Is the Louisiana Democratic Party now the “Comeback Kid”, now that a virtual nobody in the political world, without any campaign money was able to get within ten points from taking home all of the treasurer marbles in the most recent Louisiana Treasurer’s race, which concluded Saturday night?
Is there any lesson learned for the next upcoming statewide election?
In discussing the recent Louisiana Treasurer’s race and the New Orleans elections, in particular, that was the question I posed during the interview I conducted with Louisiana Weekly political editor and WRNO Radio weekend talk show host Christopher Tidmore and John Couvillon of JMC Analytics and Polling of Louisiana.
Wake up everybody!! Tomorrow is the Louisiana Treasurer's Race. On the ballot are Derrick Edwards, Angele Neil Riser and John Schroder--the former, a Democrat, the latter three, Republicans.
However, based upon the statewide turnout projects, it's going to be a real snoozer as in very low turnout. If ever a time for No Doze.