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Stuck pig Walker squeals on Bossier tax hike

Stuck pigs squeal, which is why a lot of oinking came from Republican Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker over a tax increase he wants voters to ratify on Aug. 15.

Monday, Walker took to the airwaves to explain how the city’s request for voters to authorize starting next year a 6.19 mill property tax dedicated to public safety operations for the next decade really wasn’t an increase over the current 6 mills set to expire this year. The feat to deny the ballot item’s actual wording that it “represent[s] a nineteen hundredths (.19) of a mill increase over the 6 mills authorized” currently involved some misdirection, blame-shifting, and a subordinate’s handy prop.

To understand his argument as it is, which doesn’t quite mesh with how he wanted it to appear, it’s necessary to review the legal arcaneness of Louisiana property taxation. When citizens pass a property tax dedicated to government operations of some kind, the amount becomes a ceiling on what the government can charge. It doesn’t have to levy all of it; every year, governments have the option – in Bossier City’s case, by ordinance – to set rates anywhere up to that maximum, which normally equals the amount approved by voters.


Never any reason for weaker LA election rules

No elections emergency ever existed in Louisiana, nor will one exist this fall, that justifies weakened election rules.

When the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic descended upon Louisiana this spring, a combination of panic and opportunism gripped elected officials in charge of elections. Those who panicked foresaw voting locations for April and May elections becoming a miasma of the virus, inevitably pouncing on the vulnerable who showed up to exercise the franchise. The opportunists saw the environment as a doorway to relax procedures, whether it encouraged illegal voting, that could bring partisan advantage favoring their interests.

Thus, without an entirely convincing rationale, these elections were postponed first for about two months, then another. In the meantime, Republican Sec. of State Kyle Ardoin, backed by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, presented a deeply flawed plan to alter procedures for the pair of low-stimulus affairs. When the appropriate legislative panels rejected those temporary rules, he came back with a less-flawed plan that unwisely won acceptance. The rescheduled to Jul. 11 elections operated under these, as will the rescheduled to Aug. 15 set.


Edwards blames you for his policy inadequacy

It’s you, not him, who deserves blame for Louisiana’s worst-in-the-nation Wuhan coronavirus pandemic response, according to Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards.

In his latest attempt simultaneously to avoid taking responsibility for and to drag out needlessly the state’s sorry policy reaction to the pandemic, last week Edwards said he would keep in place for at least two weeks proclamations that had reduced the size of gatherings to 50, closed bars even with food service permits (unless they have video poker machines) for anything on premises, and mandated face coverings. At week’s close, Louisiana ranked second in cases per capita (Edwards erroneously claimed the state had the most), ranked fourth in current hospitalizations per capita, and sixth in mortality per capita. Only Georgia, which held down, respectively, first, first, and eighth places, rivals Louisiana in pandemic severity at this time.

The reason, said Edwards, is you. Enough of you don’t wear your masks enough to let the state register improved metrics and then move towards more economic openness. And maybe those nasty Republicans had something to do with it, one of his functionaries last month charged, saying that Edwards had resisted imposing this kind of restriction previously because of “political considerations.” Mainly GOP politicians have led the public fight against a heavy-handed state response that included a mask mandate.


Bossier City voters must reject stealth tax hike

The timing is bad, but the idea worse, for a Louisiana local government like Bossier City to ask for a tax hike on citizens.

Next Saturday elections will occur in most parishes in Louisiana three months later than intended. Almost all of these feature local runoffs, tax renewals, or requesting new funding for a bond issue. Uniquely among large jurisdictions, Bossier City asks for a property tax increase.

Not that city politicians wanted to make that obvious in order to increase the chances of the measure passing, as the ballot wording indicates: should the city


Edwards wants taxpayers liable for his mistakes

With news of a federal government deal on unemployment benefits in the offing, Democrat Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards went to the liberal playbook to pull out a classic tactic to cover up for his mistakes.

Congressional House Democrats and Senate Republicans with GOP Pres. Donald Trump have agreed in principle to slather on more taxpayer largesse soon after the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits expire at the end of this week. Currently, that means in Louisiana someone who asserts he is looking for work – which by the numbers includes people who weren’t until the bonus became law – can make as much as $847 a week for idleness, which is 92 percent of the state’s median household income for 2018.

The current approach theoretically, as well as anecdotally, has a tremendous moral hazard problem of essentially creating a universal basic income at a relatively high level. This creates a disincentive to work that has caused employers to shut down permanently as well as spawned resentment among those still working.


LA Democrats extend non-labeled strategy

Reviewing Louisiana’s contests this fall for the Supreme Court and Public Service Commission, whether to act as a stealth Democrat and whether that will cost a candidate are questions that will be answered.

A growing trend in Louisiana, which first began in local contests in the northern part of the state but increasingly has become visible statewide, is for Democrats to run for office without a party label or as an independent, or even calling themselves Republicans. This way, they try not to turn off potential voters who increasingly register as Republicans that turn up their noses at any Democrat while using labelling or other means to signal to faithful remaining Democrats that they are safe to vote for.

In some places, that tactic is irrelevant. For the 7th Supreme Court District contest to replace retiring Democrat Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, which comprises Orleans and some of Jefferson Parish, with a large black and Democrat majority only a Democrat can win. It has three largely interchangeable black Democrat women jostling to replace Johnson – Appellate Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins, Orleans Civil Judge Piper Griffin, and Appellate Judge Teri Love.


CD 5 tight; other LA federal races snoozers

It looks like all but one of the federal election contests in Louisiana will turn out to be electoral yawners, although with more drama spread around.

There’ll be no drama, but déjà vu, in the First Congressional District, where Republican Rep. Steve Scalise will meet two retreads, and win just as decisively as always. Second CD Democrat Rep. Cedric Richmond also drew a retread and also several newcomers among them two Republicans challenging him for the first time in eight years, but he’ll still win easily.

Third CD Republican Rep. Clay Higgins also doesn’t look to encounter much trouble. Democrats didn’t want to let the outspoken disruptor go without more than token opposition so enter pastor and nonprofit manager Braylon Harris, who has a slick web presence but little in the way of resources. Still, if any congressional incumbent gets held below 60 percent, it likely would be in this race given Higgins’ bombastic style that might turn off some voters and the presence of two other minor candidates in the contest.


NW LA contests to test partisanship power

While the judicial cycle has come around to tag onto this time the presidential contest, state and local races in Caddo Parish have a bit of intrigue that will reveal the power of partisan perceptions.

Every six years all state district court and some appellate court jobs come open. Additionally, local justice of the peace, constable, and many municipal judgeships also are contested. Thus, every other time they compete with the presidential race, in contrast to only House contests (and Senate races two out of every three times).

Regardless, Bossier Parish and Bossier City, the land of the super-apathetic citizenry, displayed its typical slate of nearly-universal uncontested, Republican-incumbent contests. None of the six 26th District (the district also incorporates Webster Parish) divisions had anything but a GOP incumbent running, nor did Republican District Attorney Schuyler Marvin pick up an opponent.


Perkins Senate run may backfire politically

The big question was whether Democrat Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins would throw his hat into the ring for U.S. Senate. His affirmative announcement doesn’t answer all the questions.

Because behind the question of whether somebody runs is why. You run only for a reason, the most of trite of which is you want to win. Even though incumbent Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy has good polling numbers and lots of dough to fend off any challenger, you can’t win if you don’t play, and maybe something weird would happen that could allow Perkins to win.

However, that’s subject to cost-benefit calculations. Simply, you run if you think you’ll get more out of it than what it costs you, politically. Part of the benefits come from winning, but tempered by your expectancy of victory. In Perkins’ case, unless deluded or unquestioningly taking some very bad advice, he must know his chances aren’t great.


On virus, Edwards still ignoring data, science

Passing through another policy inflection point, evidence continues to mount that Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and his Administration haven’t responded competently to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic in Louisiana.

When in the world of the hard or soft sciences a researcher discovers a significant outlier, it often behooves further investigation to understand the phenomenon under study. Considering Louisiana by the reported numbers, its pandemic response truly stands out – and not in a good way.

The state, with a handful of others, the virus hit hard early. In these instances, all had events and commercial patterns that brought a lot of visitors to them and provided opportunities for them to congregate; in Louisiana’s case, Carnival. Since then, almost all have ratcheted down the early spikes in cases and hospitalizations.