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7.7.11

Foreclosure reminds of Bossier City officials' stupidity

The chickens continue to come home to roost, more egg piles up on Bossier City elected officials’ faces, or choose a non-fowl-related metaphor if you please, but the fact remains the errors of their strategy to trust government, not people, as the engine of economic growth continue to compound.

After spending wildly – nearly $120 million for a decade on things the city didn’t need and should have been done by the private sector but tellingly were not since they are money-losers – the economic incompetents that have managed to stay in office in the city were forced to make public the bad budgetary situation they created during the 2010 budget deliberations. Propped by years of not being Shreveport and benefiting from out-migration from it, national economic difficulties exposed a huge deficit in city operations. Had the city not gone into so much debt, the crisis largely would have been averted. Making matters worse, 2009 was the exact year that, because of the timing of the city’s past profligate ways, that debt service leaped dramatically.

Now the public has gained more insight into the making of the crisis with the revelation that the Louisiana Boardwalk in its several years of operations has performed so poorly that its owner managed to pay off only $4 million of its $128 million debt, forcing it into foreclosure.

6.7.11

Jindal again defeats effort to slip bad policy into law

For all of the talk about how the 2011 Louisiana Legislature’s regular session showed a degree of assertion by lawmakers, Gov. Bobby Jindal just keeps outfoxing some of its members by swatting away counterproductive legislation.

Despite rejection after rejection, objectionable legislation had made its way into the operating budget, which last week Jindal cast a line item veto against. The measure’s backer, state Sen. Lydia Jackson, then moaned and complained about being caught out with a rhetorical attack on Jindal, avoiding addressing that what she had gotten placed in was unconstitutional in the first place.

This week, Jindal knocked down a bad bill with his regular veto, SB 6, which would have unfairly foisted extra expenses on charter schools and other agencies for which they had no responsibility.

5.7.11

Even isolated, N.O. elections draw better than most

The League of Women Voters almost from the start has shilled for liberal causes, but its New Orleans chapter actually seems to have done something useful in calling for investigating New Orleans’, in state law reinforced by its charter, idiosyncratic dates for municipal elections. I’m happy to oblige.

Its study points out several impediments to maximizing turnout for the present dates, first fixed in 1986, of February for the initial general election and March for the general election runoff. It points out that events such as, if played in New Orleans, the Super Bowl the day after and the possibility of it being on a Carnival weekend in some years could depress turnout, as well as having elections coupled with national elections in the fall might boost turnout. But putting them back to where they were before 1986 might erode turnout due to lack of attention as other contests compete, and it could interfere with the budgeting process for the next fiscal year.

The fiscal timeline, however, is not a concern of other large Louisiana cities.

4.7.11

Independence Day, 2011

This column publishes every Sunday through Thursday after noon (sometimes even before; maybe even after sundown on busy days) U.S. Central Time except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Monday through Friday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Independence Day or Christmas when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, there are six of these: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas.

With Monday, Jul. 4 being Independence Day, I invite you to explore the links connected to the link above. (P.S. Through 2008, the White House used to have an excellent page elucidating the relevance and meaning of the holiday. Since 2009, that has vanished.)

3.7.11

Sore lawmaker puts politics over constitutional integrity

Gov. Bobby Jindal reacted relatively quickly to presentation of HB 1, the state’s operating budget, in casting his line item vetoes. In particular, one of them rankled an opponent who tried to accomplish surreptitiously and unconstitutionally what exposed to the light of day was defeated.

That concerned the item on p. 176, lines 6-11, which would take a part, $27 million, of the general fund allocation to pay for the Taylor Opportunity Program for Scholars and shunt it into Go Grants, already allocated just a little less than that, if later this year the voting public passes SB 53, a constitutional amendment that would divert money presently going into the Millennium Trust Fund to fund TOPS. Go Grants are state need-based aid to attend college while TOPS is a merit-based program to pay for college tuition.

The only problem with that was, as worded, it’s unconstitutional, as Jindal noted in his veto message with the constitution’s prohibition of contingency spending.