Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.
Louisiana’s chief executive has some big problems ahead. Over one billion dollars in current taxes are set to expire at the end of the year. That loss comes out of the current budget with no plans to take care of the long list of needs for road construction and maintenance, as well as a backlog of other projects that are on the lack burner for lack of funds. What’s an agonizing governor to do?
Does anyone take a real vacation anymore? In the good old days, school didn’t start until the Monday after Labor Day. Family destinations to the beach or the mountains were a regular and anticipated event. The last two weeks in August used to be a popular time for families to get away to the beach for a final summer fling. But not anymore. The American family vacation seems to be dying.
A popular Louisiana Governor died 15 years ago this month. John McKeithen was the first Governor I ever met. When he was elected as chief executive in 1963, Louisiana was still a 19th century state struggling to operate in the 20th century. McKeithen was the catalyst that caused a major realignment of priorities.
The consensus of most folks down in the Bayou State is that Louisiana has a governor who is a pretty decent fellow. He comes across as friendly, accessible, and hands on in running the daily operations of the state. He has an impeccable military background having voluntarily served his country in the Army, something few politicians bother to do in this day an age. He has a supportive, attractive wife who is a schoolteacher and receives high marks as the state’s first lady. Voters call him John Bel and his approval rating hovers above 50%. Yet he will be in the fight of his life in two years with a real battle on his hands if he has any hope of being re-elected.
Thirty-one years ago this week, President Ronald Reagan traveled to West Berlin, and at the Brandenburg Gate admonished: “Mr.Gorbachev take down that wall.” The Berlin Wall had been erected by the puppet soviet state of East Germany. Unless you are over sixty five or are a history buff, you may not understand the tensions that existed then had many observers feeling that we could be on the brink of war with the Soviet Union.
A New Orleans congressman tragically was shot while he was out playing baseball. Luckily, it looks like he will fully recover. Some of those who first heard the news assumed that he had been shot in New Orleans. You see, killings have become a way of life in the Crescent City.
Congress is going “new law” crazy. In the nation’s capitol, hundreds of proposed new laws are being introduced every month, creating numerous different regulations and crimes. And Louisiana congressional members are joining right in this push for more federal intrusion into what was previously the purview of the states.
President Trump has just returned from a whirlwind trip to the Middle East. And he has vowed to keep a continuing and aggressive U.S. presence where American soldiers are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, and other states ringing America’s Middle Eastern battlefields. But is Trump, like his predecessors, becoming engulfed into conflicts that never end?
The new proposed budget just released by the Trump Administration guts past federal assurances that Louisiana will share in the billions of tax dollars that are derived from offshore oil development. The state was anticipating the receipt of some $140 million in oil revenue this fiscal year. But if Trump’s proposal is accepted by Congress, efforts to stop coastal erosion will take a major setback. And the states’ already fragile budget will take a major hit.