by Tom Aswell
Republican members of the Louisiana Legislature are pretty smug about their ability to block any proposed legislation or budget put forward by Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Witness the antics of Rep. Cameron Henry (R-Metairie) as he danced to puppeteer/House Speaker Taylor Barras (R-New Iberia) in rejecting the findings of the Revenue Estimating Conference, effectively killing any chance Edwards had of implementing badly needed pay raises for Louisiana’s public school teachers.
But do Henry and Barras, members in good standing of the “Caucus of No,” give a damn about teachers or, for that matter, the state as a whole?
Why is Governor John Bel Edwards having so many problems with the Louisiana legislature? Is he simply a weak administrator who--for one reason or not--cannot get the Republican dominated legislative bodies to support his agenda? Or is he a strong governor who simply faces a recalcitrant republican-controlled legislature and GOP-based business community, who are using their political clout to limit his power for political purposes? Or, are there some other reasons?
How dee is the real hole in the Louisiana budget are we? Does the state really willing to cut governmental services without raising revenues, which is what the Speaker of the House Taylor Barras seemed to indicate yesterday, when questioned, which could prevent another revenue-raising special session?
Should the Speaker of the Louisiana House of Reprentatives resign as a result of a failed fiscal session? Is it time for the Republicans to start directing their energies to replace Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards, now that the state spent nearly one million dollars for the recent special session, with nothing to show for it?
While he didn’t exactly treat Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards as if Louisiana’s chief executive didn’t exist, Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras did make clear who called the shots over the state’s fiscal year 2019 picture and beyond.
How Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards continues to fumble through the early days of his term found its expression in sports this weekend when the Louisiana State University Tigers men’s basketball team after one time holding a big lead came up short against the top-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.
Will the new Louisiana Governor, Democrat Jon Bel Edwards be able to work with the Republican-led House of Representatives? On Monday, a political coup took place since Republicans wanted to maintain control over the House of Representatives and the party knew it could not win with its candidate, Cameron Henry, against the governor’s choice, Walt Leger?
Before we celebrate January 11 as Louisiana House Independence Day, let’s call it what it was—a political putsch.
Nothing more, nothing less.