Hours after the United States President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress celebrated a humongous legislative victory with passing its tax reform package in record time without any Democratic support, back home in Louisiana, there's a different tune being sung.
First, up in DC: The US tax reform plan passed without any hearings and sworn testimony. Very few, if anyone in Congress read the legislation since none of them even saw it until an hour or so before the vote. That legislation, which passed and signed into law today, put the finishing touches upon the Trump-led US Congressional congressional agenda in which all respect for the ordinary congressional process was ignored. Earlier this year, Republicans unsuccessfully yet similarly attempted to repeal Obamacare without any hearings, or participation by the minority Democrats and yes, without legislation being available for lawmakers to debate.
In Louisiana, a number of Jefferson and St. Tammany Parish officials were aghast a few years ago over a proposal to sell the Causeway Bridge that goes to the North Shore across Lake Pontchartrain. When the state’s largest paper, the Times Picayune, mixed the idea editorially, one elected official after the other fell all over themselves running away from even any talk of such an atrocity.
Today, Southern Media and Opinion Research released its fall poll which surveyed the Louisiana population on a variety of issues.
Importantly, for specific local politicians, John Bel Edwards is very popular, although a Democrat in a Republican state. His favorable are a very respectable 63%. He is also the most popular statewide elected official followed by US Senator John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, who is below fifty percent.
Though the conversation depicted in this cartoon likely didn’t go down exactly this way, it is, nonetheless, typical of the mindset of not only Republicans, but Democrats as well. The merits of a given piece of legislation are immaterial; if it’s being proposed by the opposition party, we’re against it.
It’s getting close to redistricting time for legislators, both in Louisiana and throughout the country. By federal law, all election districts must be reapportioned every 10 years to reflect the latest census figures. But should legislators, who have a vested interest in how the redistricting lines are drawn, actually be the ones to do the drawing, anyway?
by Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher of Fax-Net
Edwards, leaders in D.C.
Today, Lousiana House GOP members of the Joint Budget Committee stopped the State’s Medicaid contracts with a vote of 17 against, 7 for.
Shortly after, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued the following statement on today’s Joint Budget Committee vote:
In the last legislative session, Governor John Bel Edwards was successful in passing a package of laws that completely overhauled the state’s criminal justice system. The main reason for the legislative package was to reduce the state’s incarceration rate, which is the highest in the world.
As a result, starting on November 1, 1,900 “non-violent offenders,” became eligible for release from prison after serving at least 35% of their sentence. Before the release, Sheriffs and District Attorneys across the state expressed concern that violent criminals would be unleashed upon the innocent citizens of Louisiana. Not surprisingly, days after the state started releasing these “non-violent offenders,” an armed robbery was committed in Kenner by Tyrone “Smokey” White, one of the criminals set free.
With Louisiana, once again, getting ready to fall off of the fiscal cliff, would it be better for the state to go to pot?
At some point prior to mid-June 2018, Louisiana legislature will be forced to either engage in major budget cuts amounting to roughly $1B, raise revenues, a combination of both or, extend a penny sales tax since the size of government has exceeded the revenues to pay for it.
Is Louisiana looking at another special session in 2018 to deal with—what seems to be the never-ending budget shortfall? What is Governor John Bel Edwards doing to fix what appears to be an annual rite of spring—budgetary emergency management? And, just how bad is the budget bleeding going to be given that the state could fall off that proverbial fiscal cliff which near-fall was softened two years ago with a penny sales tax increase and other measures?
In part three of the November 2 interview with Stephen Waguespack, the President, and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, the leader of the largest business organization in the state discussed these and other issues confronting the state, once again.