Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.
One of the new President’s first actions announced this week is to support the building of the Keystone XL pipeline that the Obama administration had disapproved. Both Louisiana senators hailed the decision and talked about all the new jobs that will come to the Bayou State. But is building the pipeline such a huge job creator and economic bonanza for Louisiana?
You would think that in the New Year, following a year when the Louisiana legislature raised taxes by over one billion dollars, lawmakers would sense the public’s anti-tax fervor and would be averse to mining every nook and cranny for more taxes. But now Governor John Bel Edwards, with full legislative support and in a desperate attempt to send more revenue to state coffers, is quite willing to stick purchasers with sales taxes for whatever they buy online.
The honeymoon may be just beginning for President-Elect Donald Trump, but any such love fest has come to an abrupt end for Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. 2016 was a year the new governor would like to forget, but things don’t look a lot better for 2017. In fact, it could become a lot worse.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I always do. A New Year always brings with it promise and uncertainty, but this coming year brings with it a greater foreboding than we have experienced in the past. The Chinese have a saying: "May you live in interesting times." But their definition means dangerous or turbulent. We in Louisiana and throughout America certainly live in “interesting” times today.
Most of us have been swept up in the momentum of the holiday season. We are passing the Christmas milestone and are approaching New Year’s Day, the third in the trilogy of holidays that we celebrate during this time each year — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.
Remember the old knock on presidential candidate John Kerry back in the 2004 presidential election? “I was for it before I was against it.” Today, about the single worst charge that can be made against any conservative Republican politician is that they support Obamacare. President-Elect Trump said during the recent campaign that his first act would be to abolish Obamacare. And the key component is requiring every citizen to buy health insurance.
Say it isn’t so. The Bayou State, made up of docile souls who are law abiding, courteous and well-trained motorists, has just been tagged by several rating services as having the worst drivers in the nation. Look, the folks down here in the deepest of the deep Southern states do get a little rowdy now and then. Maybe Mardi Gras and Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. But day in and day out, we are a bunch of lousy drivers? It just can’t be!
The headlines resounded across the front page of both New Orleans’ daily newspapers. “AN UNCONSCIONABLE ACT” blared the New Orleans Advocate. “IT WAS PANIC,” shouted The Times Picayune. Bullets were flying all over Bourbon Street as a visiting Baton Rouge man was killed and 10 others were injured. And the continuing tragic news is that 42 people were shot in the Crescent City in the previous 10 days alone.
One of the biggest tests facing Louisiana’s recently elected Governor John Bel Edwards is the challenge of re-instilling pride in the attitudes of many Louisianans.
Government can only do so much. But a governor can be a catalyst in raising the public’s expectations.
by Jim Brown
One of the hallmarks of America’s democracy is the right to vote on who are leaders will be. And implicit in the process is the guarantee that elections will be run fairly without any hint of corrupting the process. That includes a voter’s confidence that those running our elections and those in charge of the government in power do not, by their actions, taint the process. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.