edwards f report

Let's suppose you're the Governor of one of the worst performing states. You're a Democrat in a very conservative state in a very conservative region.  You know the revenues on the table in a Republican dominated legislature cannot come close to meeting your obligations to match even last year's budget. You and most of your legislators are running for re-election. The Republican party is gunning for your head since you beat one of them to win the keys to the mansion. You called a special session in the spring, which failed to create a compromise on a budget for next year. After the ordinary legislative session completed, you called another one, which again blew up with very little to show for the roughly $1.4 million dollars spent to get to almost zero done for the second time in four months. And now, with the new fiscal year going into effect, you have no choice but to call another one but you know that the two political extremes simply don't see eye to eye and appear to want to defy the other extreme, simply to make a point.

Sound familiar?

This is the proximate situation Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is currently facing as time is running out for a budget fix and possibly even in his political career as governor should he not achieve a legislative win.

On Wednesday, Christopher Tidmore and I discussed Edwards's options. Tidmore is the political editor for the Louisiana Weekly and talk radio show host. 

Here is the first part of the conversation. Below is the video and transcript part 2 of this particular segment, which starts at the 35 minute, 58 second mark on the video. Part 3, tomorrow:

Can Governor Edwards, Louisiana legislature ever get budget together?

The administration so far has not been willing to agree to a tax of less than five years for a legitimate reason. Five years is the minimum part that Wall Street considers funding when it comes to the bond rating.  So they can't really put that on the table otherwise we might have had a deal already for two years, just get us through the election, possibly, possibly not. So what else is the governor willing to do because from a political standpoint. The question is what is the governor willing to do to say to the Republicans--I can give you this and get it will give you cover, because you are taking a politically risky stand. It's not about the comparatively small a bit of money.

It's about the ideological statement that Republican who was elected on an absolute platform of no new taxes has already allowed one sales tax to go on for two or three years,  for two years--18 months really-- and had told his constituents it was completely temporary for crisis.  Now he's basically extending half of that for five years. The governor needs to come up and say to him in old fashioned political horse trading, and not "hey you got a road in your district which is how the governor is thinking"--something on a rather large scale that comes through.  What is that? I thought for a while what the governor was going to endorse was a constitutional convention--the idea that was pushed by Neal Abramson. Personal animosity between the governor and Abramson, even Abramson is a Democratic, he tends to vote with Republicans. 

He's a committee chairman--has pretty much killed that for now, at least for the this session. And I don't know what else the governor can give up that actually would make a difference at this late date.  And I think what's going on between the administration representatives particularly Jay Dardenne and Taylor Barras, is this--"look, we got to pass the half-penny. There's no way around this, we're not going to call the revenue estimating conference back, that's off the table"  Maybe it's not but I'm guessing it is in the next seven days. 

So, what can we do for you to get this passed that doesn't involve a large budgetary cut--beyond one or two percent? And I think there's a lot of flummoxed in the administration about what they can do--because remember John Bel Edwards is himself going into a very tough reelection. He cannot afford--he's a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat. The thing he's gonna be talking about, believe it or not in this election, is how he passed a 15 week abortion limit, because it's gonna get him credibility with conservatives and it doesn't hurt him with African-Americans who tend to be socially conservative.   

But if he starts giving away economic stuff, it could affect African-American turnout and poor Democratic turnout and affect his reelection which will already be tight.  It will not be the 60-40 David Vitter type of thing.  And he's in a trick bag.  Right now, he gets hurt but the Republicans get blamed for the budget being-- hurting TOPS effectively.  If he doesn't get blamed .

 

Published in Louisiana legislature

 

edwards free

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.

Published in Louisiana legislature

 

edwards free

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.

Published in Louisiana legislature

blossmanLouisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has announced changes in the LSU Board of Supervisors.

Today,  Edwards announced the following appointments: Jack A. “Jay” Blossman, B. Wayne Brown; Robert S. Dampf; Chester Lee Mallett; Rémy Voisin Starns and Mary Leach Werner.  They will each serve a six year term set to expire on June 1, 2024

Published in 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. 

Published in Louisiana legislature

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?

Published in Louisiana legislature

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.

Published in Louisiana legislature

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. 

Published in Louisiana legislature

dxcToday, Gov. John Bel Edwards, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Executive Vice President Jim Smith of DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC) joined guests and employees in dedicating the company’s New Orleans Digital Transformation Center at the newly named DXC Technology Building on 1615 Poydras Street. In November, DXC Technology announced it will create 2,000 new direct jobs in New Orleans over the next five years in what will become Louisiana’s largest technology-focused economic development project to date.

Published in New Orleans News

politheater 3"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.

Published in Louisiana legislature
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