In the ashes of the failure of Republican state Rep. Lance Harris’ HB 38 from the just-concluded special session of the Louisiana Legislature, most disappointing was the demonstrated ignorance of some opponents to it.
The bill would have allowed the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget to review local governments that perform functions of or are law enforcement agencies that decreased spending on that function a quarter or more, unless their tax collections in the period dropped. If the JLCB determined the decrease harmed public safety, the offending government would lose the chance to receive capital outlay money from the state and any appropriations for sale tax dedications.
Harris, who is running for Congress, pitched the bill as a proactive antidote to the actions of a handful of cities nationwide that have made efforts to defund police departments under the allegation that they perform in a systematically racist way. None in Louisiana have attempted this, although extremist elements have called for this in New Orleans.