Wednesday, 25 June 2014 16:36

Louisiana 6th Congr. race, Landrieu, Jindal and World Cup: Latest wrap

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Louisiana capitolPaul Dietzel, Garret Graves and the 6th District

The results of a 6th Congressional District Poll, conducted by JMC Analytics and Polling, shows Edwin Edwards leading the race with 27% of the votes in a primary. Paul Dietzel follows with 12% and Dan Claitor with 7%. 43% was undecided.


Another candidate who's running is Garret Graves, former Chairman of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority under Jindal. On June 26, Graves is attending a breakfast at La Maison Magnolia Reception Hall, hosted by several parish presidents, such as John Young of Jefferson Parish, Pat Prister of St. Tammany Parish, and Billy Nungesser of Plaquemines Parish. This invitation clearly indicates that Graves has the support of the twelve powerful hosting parish presidents.

In the JMC poll which is commissioned by Dietzel, Graves is placed in the group "Others" (12% of the votes) consisting of other candidates who have not exceeded 5% in any of the three polls conducted. However, if Graves continues his progress in the fundraising area with the help of the Koch brothers and Boysie Bollinger, with the clout of the South Louisiana Parish Presidents,  it will be interesting to see how the polls might change.

There are at least two other well-known candidates who shouldn’t be written off--Senator Dan Claitor and Rep. Lenar Whitney, R-Houma. Both of these state officials have strong followings.

Mary Landrieu Can’t Catch a Break

"Mary Landrieu just can't seem to catch a break these days," Nick Juliano, E&E reporter, writes. In his article, Juliano sums up Landrieu's hectic last week. Her vote on the Keystone XL was dismissed by the Republicans as a "show vote." A pending energy and water spending bill could have offered Landrieu some relief. She secured language in the bill designed to direct more federal money to Louisiana. However, as the White House threatened to veto the bill over fears about a possible amendment undermining the administration's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, plans to mark up the bill were canceled by Appropriations Committee leaders. Thus, Mary Landrieu did not get the chance to demonstrate her opposition to the U.S. EPA power plant, either. "It really is a challenge for her when it proves to be difficult to get anything accomplished in the Senate," said Kirby Goidel, director of public policy research at Louisiana State University.

Being up for reelection in only a few months, Landrieu is focusing on her efforts to deliver and downplaying or ignoring the areas in which she doesn't deliver. Her campaign is responding to the various attacks on her, for example from Bill Cassidy, for her alleged "show vote" on the Keystone XL.

Cassidy's campaign (and the Republicans) are hammering Landrieu for her connection to Majority Leader Harry Reid, one of the opponents of the Keystone XL bill. Last week, Cassidy said: "As long as Sen. Landrieu is supporting Sen. Reid, you have a Senate which functions only to enable President Obama's agenda." N. Hunter Johnston, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP who tracks Louisiana and energy issues claimed that he wouldn't be surprised to see Landrieu break more forcefully with Reid before the election. That way, she might be able to change the minds of some of the voters who feel that her relation to Reid and Obama is too close.

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Jindal’s Unfair Policies

In an article on Dig Baton Rouge, Scott Burns links the controversial penalty kick in the World Cup opening match between Brazil and Croatia to Bobby Jindal's "pro-business" policies. Many people felt that Croatia was treated unfairly in the game because Brazil is the bigger host country. Similarly, Burns argues, Jindal's policies benefit large firms.

Burns writes: "If we think of the economy as a sport where fans represent consumers and businesses are like the competing teams, governments sort of act like referees. They’re largely responsible for establishing and enforcing the 'rules of the game.' If these rules are fair and simple, competition usually yields the desired outcome: the better team wins. If not, then competition is hampered, and fans are cheated."

However, according to economists Christopher Coyne and Lotta Moberg, this system is harmful to small businesses and taxpayers. The largest issue is that of currying special favors; large companies spend energy and resources that smaller businesses do not have trying to influence the government. It also encourages bribery and institutionalized cronyism.

Burns points out some local examples. In 2012, the state provided more than $1.7 billion in incentives to Cheniere Energy to create and retain jobs near Lake Charles, costing the taxpayers $7.5 million per job. In 2013, Louisiana offered IBM nearly $30 million on incentives and tens of million more in facility construction grants and tax credits to build a service center in downtown Baton Rouge. Burns's conclusion is that Louisiana needs to offer low tax rates across the board to make the state a pro-business environment. Louisiana currently ranks 33rd in its State Business Tax Index.

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Stephen Sabludowsky assisted with the article.

Bayoubuzz Staff

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