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The US economy is booming. Stock market has soared yet, the first six months of 2018, it has sputtered. Oil prices have climbed, yet, the industry has not yet gushed back. We're in the middle of the second longest economic recovery in history, yet, fears of slow down persists. The US is taking on China and its best allies in the first shots of a trade battle due to tariffs. Economically, all systems are on “go”, full speed ahead, but uncertainty linger.
So, what gives? Has the economy been too good? You know, what goes up, must come down? Or, have deregulation, tax cuts and a bubbling business climate built up such a mighty buffer that any economic leaks due to shifting alliances and trade strategies won't penetrate the optimism?
by Patrick Bergeron, Op Ed
Louisiana Independents call for no party label SOS
This 'letter to the editor' is a plea for support from the Louisiana Democratic and Republican Parties for a Constitutional Amendment to remove the partisan labels in future races for Secretary of State. It's time to remove even the appearance of impropriety from our system of elections.
Tariffs. Trade war. Who wins? Who loses? What might the impact be on the State of Louisiana and its businesses?
Legislators were high fiving this week over the balancing of the state budget by increasing the already highest sales tax in the nation. Fully funding the TOPS tuition program for college students became the centerpiece for much of the discussion. But through all the euphoria of self-congratulation, lost in the shuffle was the failure to address or even discuss early childhood learning and funding the child-care assistance program.
The Louisiana legislative session is history but politics continues year-round. Bayoubuzz’s Louisiana political shorts for today involves these top stories—new Secretary of State candidate, Congressman Clay Higgins picks up endorsements in his re-election bid, Louisiana Democratic Party is very upset about today’s US Supreme Court Decision, Revenue Estimating Conference meets--bye Fiscal Cliff and Congressman Mike Johnson files new religious freedom bill
Finally, after three special sessions and a regular one, it's time to relax, do the things that hard-working legislators (and governors) long to do after a long grueling hard-fought battle over the budget--pick up the pieces of one's life and, if at all possible, spend quality time with family, check out those hires burning at the office and hopefully take a moment of leisure.
The fiscal cliff, that seemingly insurmountable object in front of every legislative session since Bobby Jindal took his shot at taming the budget, is fixed. Yes, fixed. At least, on paper and hopefully, in reality, until perhaps, the next mid-decade.
The Louisiana legislators and governor, who have spent almost every day in session since mid-February of this year, have settled upon a budget deal that reduces the sales tax from five cents to 4.45 cents. Today, The Advocate reporter Tyler Bridges, who has been there with the legislators as each tick has tocked on the capitol clock, took a few moments to discuss with me--the session and the budget agreement. The interview occured via Facebook and Twitter Live.
Below is the video transcript of the relevant portions of the interview with Bridges, who will also soon post a "behind the budget deal scene" article for The Advocate.
According to a tweet by Times Picayune capitol bureau reporter Julia O'Donoghue, who knows, there might be some type of compromise in the legislature during the special session. The reporter indicated today that the "Talk is that the new sales tax rate that they will be trying to pass in the House is a 4.45 sales tax rate. That's between the 4.4 sales tax rate the House GOP wanted and the 4.5 sales tax rate".
Is there some way that Louisiana can gets its budgetary house in order? What is the problem? Did it begin under current Governor John Bel Edwards? Is Medicaid the culprit? Can we reform higher ed?
On Tuesday, I discussed the budget with former State Representative Brett Geymann, a budget hawk, who was term-limited and who left the legislature after the 2015 election. Geymann believes that the state budget should be tied to the economy and we will publish his thoughts on this tomorrow, as we went more into detail on that issue in the latter part of the Facebook, Twitter and Youtube Live discussion.
”The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!” And according to politicians in both parties, they are out to infiltrate the entire U.S. election process. A special prosecutor is looking under every rock to find out the culprits involved. And down here in Louisiana, the Secretary of State’s office is calling for the immediate replacement of some 10,000 voting machines at a cost of $60 million. Wow! This looks like a really crisis. But is it?
Respectful and refreshing.
Those are the words that came to my mind after discussing the Louisiana budget issues with former conservative Republican House of Representative Brett Geymann of Lake Charles, this morning via Bayoubuzz’s Facebook, Twitter and Youtube Live.
If you had the dictatorial powers to fix the Louisiana budget, how would you do it? Raise taxes such as sales taxes? Increase the income taxes? Property taxes?
On Monday, hours prior to the Louisiana legislative special session, number three, started, i asked John Kay Jr., how would he fix the state's problem with the budget? Kay is the State Director for the Louisiana Chapter of the Americans for Prosperity organization, a group funded by the conservative Koch Brothers. It favors smaller government.
Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards delivered this statement to the legislature as the 3rd fiscal session of the year commenced to fix the budget:
As prepared for delivery:
Today, the chairs of Louisiana's four public postsecondary systems - the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, the LSU System, the Southern University System Board of Supervisors, and the UL System, in conjunction with the Louisiana Board of Regents, sent a joint letter to seek funding for higher education and for TOPS..