"Our Louisiana" or Political Theater?
It depends on your politics and your choice of theaters, perhaps
Today, in Lafayette Louisiana Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards and Republican Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser started the sixth special session in two and a half years to deal with the Louisiana budget woes, left from the prior governor, Republican Bobby Jindal.
Louisiana Oil and Gas looks for fairness during Louisiana fiscal legislative session as the sixth special session starts today
Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and lt. Governor Billy Nungesser are addressing a large crowd in Lafayette Louisiana as part of a new promotion of “Our Louisiana”. The obvious goal is to fashion some type of settlement so that the State of Louisiana can balance this year’s budget and perhaps, create a fairer and more stable method to structure the receipt of revenues and the payment of government services. The special session, starting today, is the sixth--focused upon dealing with major shortages in the state’s budget.
The Louisiana legislative session, part two, is finally coming to an end. Part one occurred earlier this year as a special fiscal session, in which the legislature could not agree upon a budget at all. However, given that the legislature could not raise revenues during the part two or regular session this year, that just might occur on Tuesday, when another special session kicks off, or, shall we say, legislative session, part three?
The 2018 vintage of the Louisiana legislature has been in session now since February 19 2018. Initially, it met in an extraordinary fiscal session called by Governor John Bel Edwards to grapple with the then-one billion dollar budget shortfall. That two week endeavor ended in failure. Essentially nothing was passed.
Legislators being in session for essentially the first half of each year for the past series of springs has become a regular occurence, primarily due to major budgetary issues. The individual lawmakers are tired. Nerves are frayed. The everyday grind focuses upon minutia. They are underpaid. And perhaps worse of all, nothing seems to be getting done. Bills are getting killed.
Christopher Tidmore essentially calls it a game of legislative chicken. Which is what the House, the Senate and the Governor appear to be playing this Louisiana legislative session with the budget. In a recent interview with the political columnist for the Louisiana Weekly and radio talk show host, Tidmore and with JMC Polling and Analytics, John Couvillon, the lawmakers must somehow fill a still-gaping hole in which House Republicans have basically taken taxes off the table after passing a budget protecting the popular TOPS program while shortchanging the health care and higher education vital services.
We're all familiar with "Build it, They will come"
That's exactly what New Orleans and Louisiana did to attract the New Orleans Saints and later the New Orleans Pelicans.
But, what if? What if we, the State of Louisiana, stopped funding our beloved professional football and basketball teams's existence in these parts, in what some might call, pro sports "pay to play"?
Familiar with "Fund us, or we will go"?
As we know, Louisiana is, has been, and probably will be in a fiscal mess, year after year, until and unless we identify and then fix the problem.
For the past ten years, and at times prior to the start of the Bobby Jindal administraton, the budget has been unbalanced until the magic, smoke and mirrors took over to create a false balanced budget, financed often with one-time money.
Can the Louisiana Republicans finally get major cuts to the budget as the fiscal hawks have demanded for years? How much of a budget hole is there? Why did the Louisiana legislative fiscal session, called last month to fill an almost one-billion dollar hole, fail without anything to show for its efforts? Did Governor John Bel Edwards have a firm plan? Can we really blame the Republicans for its lack of unity as the Governor has done with the special session fizzle or were the Democrats just as divided?
Has the Louisiana legislature become a battle-ground of anger and acrimony, based, in part upon political philosophy and to an extent, whether willing to admit it, or not, race? Essentially, this was the first question asked in Bayoubuzz’s interview with The Advocate’s Reporter, Elizabeth Crisp, who covers the Louisiana legislature.