Today is being called D-Day or even the Drop Dead Day when referring to the Louisiana legislative special session being held in Baton Rouge. Conventional wisdom is, if things don’t really jumpstart now, you can kiss the revenue raising session goodbye.
Roughly 11 days ago, Governor John Bel Edwards first gaveled in the fiscal session, to fix what was considered by many, a roughly 600 to 1 billion dollar hole in the budget for the year 2018, starting July 1. However, the session has literally gone nowhere.
For the second year in a row, Louisiana has ranked last in the U.S. News and World Report state ranking. It is a poor ranking that is very well deserved.
The study focused on 77 different areas in eight major categories, such as crime. Unfortunately, in this area, Louisiana does not compare very favorably. Our state is a very violent one with the highest incarceration rate in the nation. Last year, a criminal justice reform package was signed by Governor John Bel Edwards. The ostensible reason for the legislation was to reduce the incarceration rate. Thus, 1900 “non-violent” offenders were released in November of 2017. Not surprisingly in the span of a few weeks, 76 of these prisoners were arrested again. Their victims would not have been targeted if these criminals were kept in prison.
Is Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards ready to be a hero? Is he willing and ready to take the reins, be a leader, pull a “Nixon goes to China” and get the Louisiana budget on a secure and stable process?
These are the basic thrusts of the comments articulated by Rob Maness earlier this morning as he discussed with me, the Louisiana legislative session via Facebook and Twitter Live.
On Monday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards addressed the legislature and the state in opening another special session to try to plug a fiscal hole.
Today, Bayoubuzz launched its first segment of its daily, twice per day segment discussing the legislative session, "Bayoubuzz Live: Louisiana Legislature", streamed to Facebook and Twitter.
It’s not so much whether Louisiana’s House of Representative’s Republican delegation can unite to address immediate fiscal concerns, but whether some faction of it will defect to hand Louisianans a big tax bill for the foreseeable future.
That Gov. John Bel Edwards endorsed sham “tax reform” in his
recent special session call becomes all the more apparent when another example surfaced of Louisiana’s subpar fiscal policy.
In the days prior to the session’s launch next week, the state announced Gameloft would close its New Orleans office, reneging on a deal to bring more jobs to the state. This meant it gave away nearly a million dollars over the past seven years to the gaming firm under the Digital Interactive Media and Software Tax Credit, or almost $25,000 per job created. The total amount actually comes close to $2 million, but the state plans on clawing back over half.
Today is infrastructure day, again. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, whose flight was canceled yesterday, managed to make it up to the White House to participate in the discussion with President Donald Trump who revealed his plan.
Ready or not, the Louisiana spring special session is coming to a Capitol near you.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards will call another special session for the Louisiana legislature, something he said he was not going to do unless there was an agreement between the Republican and Democratic parties.
By Stephen Winham, guest columnist
Publisher on LouisianaVoice.com
Caveat: I worked closely with Buddy Roemer as state budget director. I have only the barest of acquaintances with John Bel Edwards. For this reason, I must question how fair my comparison of the two can be. I admit I am disappointed in John Bel Edwards’ performance as governor to date and have admired Roemer’s efforts even more with the passage of time.
Today, the Office of Gov. John Bel Edwards issued the following statement on the lawsuit filed by Attorney General Jeff Landry against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer involving the Intercoastal Waterway servitude:
“The Attorney General did not consult with the Governor or the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority on his lawsuit. It’s unfortunate that the agency charged with developing strategies for dealing with coastal wetlands was not consulted at all. While coastal restoration is a top priority of Gov. Edwards, as evidenced by the significant work we have done over the last two years to expedite projects, we will review the lawsuit once the language is provided to us and determine the best path forward for the state.”