by Dr. Ed Chervenak, Political Science Professor, University of New Orleans
I have been following JBE’s first days in office. What we are seeing is the distinction of the politics of getting into office and the politics of governing. Once a candidate gains power, they are transformed. Where Edwards was the challenger and critic, he is now the head of the state government, and is responsible for its conduct.
The horses are now in place for what might be a legendary budget showdown at the not-so-ok Louisiana capitol corral in Baton Rouge.
A new governor, Jon Bel Edwards, has inherited a nightmare of horror, a budgetary hole left by his predecessor, former Presidential hopeful and absentee landlord leader, republican Bobby Jindal, who is now living high on the hog at his own private mansion paid for the taxpayers. Yet, Jindal’s boys and loyalists-- some who wear their hands dirty after sucking dry our well full of billion dollars, are now getting armed for the big fight. And, it’s a’comin.
Louisiana Governor Jon Bel Edwards indicated today that the state needs the sales tax increase of one penny, however, he also indicated that he wanted to work together with the legislature to meet middle ground and that it was one of a menu of items for the legislature to consider.
According to Greg Hilburn, reporter for Gannett, the new House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia will be announcing his chair positions today and those announcement just might stoke some political fires.
Paraphrasing but updating former Louisiana Senator Russell Long’s famous saying about how to raise revenue, “We’re going tax you, we’re going tax me, we’ll even tax that guy behind the tree.” With only a few days in office, Louisiana’s new Governor John Bel Edwards wasted no time in echoing Chicken Little’s admonition that the sky is falling when it comes to having enough revenue for the Bayou State to pay its bills.
Louisiana Secretary of Department of Health and Hospitals Rebecca Gee, has presented a plan to the Division of Administration that provides for various options depending upon the amount of revenues availale as the new administration led by Governor Jon Bel Edwards, readies for a major budget special session given a severe $2.6 billion dollar shortfall after taking over from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
Here isa press release from Secretary Gee:
I’d be lying if I told you that it’s not frustrating to read or hear intelligent people call others “liars”, when those others, in fact, are not lying at all.
I also promise my best never to call someone a liar—unless I have real uncontroverted facts to support my claim.
"He lied; He broke his promise; Just like a democrat, tax and more taxes; Typical Democratic scare tactics to raise taxes…"
These words have been the siren cries from those (many of them Vitter supporters), who now appear to be in apoplectic gleeful that Louisiana governor Jon Bel Edwards and his newly-found soul mate, Republican Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, are talking the “T” word, taxes and not the “C” word, cuts.
Louisiana’s newly elected governor began his inaugural day on a high note with religious services at St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Baton Rouge. But before he could even begin his inaugural address, things got dicey. The Louisiana House of Representatives rejected his hand picked candidate for Speaker. Is this an indication of how his term as the state’s chief executive will succeed?
Before we celebrate January 11 as Louisiana House Independence Day, let’s call it what it was—a political putsch.
Nothing more, nothing less.