State of Louisiana

State of Louisiana (445)

Louisiana State Capitol at night

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Once again, a special session has ended in disagreement and disappointment. Legislators could not agree on the exact funding mechanism to bridge the $650 million budget deficit. The crisis is a result of the 1% sales tax increase that was enacted in 2016 but will expire at the end of the month.

 

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Once again, a special session has ended in disagreement and disappointment. Legislators could not agree on the exact funding mechanism to bridge the $650 million budget deficit. The crisis is a result of the 1% sales tax increase that was enacted in 2016 but will expire at the end of the month.

 

near farThe Louisiana fiscal session, part two, called to fix the budget that is one more time out of whack, is now history. What’s a state to do? The economy is flat. The people are poor and poorly educated with some of the worst health conditions in the country. The education system is third rate, compared to some of the leading states in the nation. Survey after survey places Louisiana in the pits, if not, competing for that unlofty spot. What’s a state, specifically, Louisiana to do to provide for the necessary needs of its citizens?

This essentially is the debate between conservative and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, the legislature and the Governor, John Bel Edwards.


FOOD FIGHT3 6

It is difficult to fathom how Louisiana legislature and our Governor John Bel Edwards have gotten us in the situation where fiscal matters dealing with the budget are more chaotic now than they were after the traumas and horrors of Hurricane Katrina. But they are. 

Last night, the House Republicans ran out the clock, preventing any further opportunities to emerge for a late, last-minute deal. They were adamant that they were not going to budge on the revenues increase. Nor were the Governor and others willing to toe the line on spending and on raising taxes. 

ticktocTic Toc. Tic Toc.

Roughly nine hours to go. When the clock strikes 12 midnight tonight, despite commonly-held belief, the princess won’t turn into a rag. But, if the Louisiana legislature and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards do not resolve their differences, the bells would have tolled and the Louisiana legislative session will have collapsed again over the issue of the budget. Some call this process, fixing the fiscal cliff.  

la gumbo horse 8Louisiana has been called the Culinary Mecca of America.  Folks in this part of the country can take just about anything edible and make it not just good, but quite exceptional.  And when we say anything, we mean everything.  There is virtually no limit to what a Cajun will put in a gumbo. Well, because of federal restrictions, there is one thing-horsemeat.

For years, Congress has banned the sale of horsemeat for consumption in the U.S. But that could well change under the proposed budget by the Trump Administration.Now I’ll admit that most of us do not regularly run down to our local supermarket to check on whether a fresh shipment of horsemeat has arrived.  But I’m not all that enamored by eating nutria, a large rat, that is regularly publicized as a tasty dish by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.  So, to each his own.

CRUNCH TIME BUDGETCrunch time.

Only four full days, excluding today, left in the second extraordinary fiscal session of the Louisiana legislature called to fix the fiscal cliff, 2018.

Will the Louisiana legislature be able to come to an agreement prior to Monday midnight?  Will a legislative agreement include more cuts to higher education, the hospitals, TOPS, the prison system and government infrastructure? If so, will the governor John Bel Edwards sign the budget into law?

help friends jbe 2What’s a governor to do? What’s a Louisiana governor to do?

Which was somewhat the issue discussed yesterday. That’s when long-time State elected official and political observer Jim Brown and equally long-time political writer Tom Aswell (publisher of LouisianaVoice) and I got together online to talk about the current budget mess up in Baton Rouge.  That mess might also be known as the “second special Louisiana Legislative fiscal session of 2018”.  If the mess is not cleaned sufficiently over the next seven days, there is talk about a third crack at getting it right.

The Governor in question, of course is Democrat John Bel Edwards.  He has started his third year in office and is trying to get his agenda and budget plans through the Republican-dominated legislature. His approach is a blend of taxes and spending cuts.

billycBilly Cannon died this week. He was a Louisiana sports legend. There are some things you just don’t forget. Where you were on 9/11, or when President John Kennedy was shot.  Down here in the Bayou State, add to those special dates Halloween night 59 years ago when Billy Cannon made football history with his 87 yard run to beat Ole Miss and keep the Tigers undefeated. His story is the rise and fall, then the rise again by LSU’s all-time great sports hero.

bishopThe Louisiana legislature is back in session for the fiscal budget fix. The assumption and perhaps conventional wisdom is that the legislature will somehow compromise on the $650 to $670 million dollar shortfall compared to last year’s budget for government services.  But, that is no certainty. 

Earlier this year, when there was roughly a billion dollar shortage, the legislature failed to pass a budget and while the current projected budget is now smaller, it would still take compromising on the part of all the lawmakers and the Governor, John Bel Edwrds. 

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