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25.10.12

GOP petitioners gamble their, LA Legislature's power

Emitting a yawp for “legislative independence” at the expense of losing personal and Legislative power? For a handful of Louisiana Republican members of the House of Representatives, it’s a gamble they take hoping to avoid this consequence.


As noted previously, an effort for the Legislature to call itself into special session to pursue an agenda injurious to efficient policy implementation would turn the body into little more than the equivalent of the Transportation Security Administration for Louisiana on budget implementation, with the chambers frisking executive decisions to find any evidence of policies that could right-size state government and/or impede their abilities to feed statewide or constituency-based special interests at taxpayer expense that assist in their reelections, and then to try to eliminate any offensive implementation decisions that threaten their reelections and/or trouble their faiths in big government. The first of four steps, getting a chamber, the House, to sign a petition to put the matter to a vote, has been achieved.

The author of the effort, state Rep. Dee Richard, enthusiastically waxes that should it come to pass the session could be used to reverse recent cost-cutting reformations made to state government. Of course, nothing of the sort will happen, and not just because the math does not add up to produce enough votes to override a veto of any of the reforms by their executor Gov. Bobby Jindal, but also because by the time the session concludes, a large share of the implementation will have become an accomplished fate.

24.10.12

Legislators need not sacrifice power to satisfy left's agenda

If perhaps state Rep. Dee Richard can manage to swing a third of the Senate to request a special session of the Louisiana Legislature, setting up a needed majority vote in both chambers to have it, or even that doesn’t transpire, the best thing he can do is declare a misinterpreted victory now before sending the Legislature into one of the Pyrrhic variety.


In essence, he has announced the task to meeting is a quarter-way there with the assent of 38 House members to the petition. A similar performance by senators by the end of Friday will set up the vote to hold it. Regardless of whether that happens, at the close of Friday if he’s smart Richard will hail the effort as a sign of vigor in and independence of the Legislature, and leave it at that.

Of course, in real life it’s nothing of the sort. Instead, his limited success to date is part of the dying bray of liberalism and populism as significant political forces in the state. The rationale for the session, as previously noted, is to pass laws that would make the Legislature the equivalent of the Transportation Security Administration for Louisiana on budget implementation, with the chambers frisking executive decisions to find any evidence of policies that could right-size state government and/or impede their abilities to feed statewide or constituency-based special interests at taxpayer expense that assist in their reelections, and then to try to eliminate any offensive implementation decisions that threaten their reelections and/or trouble their faiths in big government.

23.10.12

End solar credits, industry greed, raiding taxpayer wallets

The Louisiana Legislature’s Revenue Study Commission grinds on, with its most recent review revealing greed, arrogance, and presumption of the highest order.


The legislative panel is investigating the utility of tax breaks granted by the state, with an eye towards eliminating those that do not sufficiently bring benefits to the state. One of the most egregious offenders in that regard is the absurdly generous credit given to solar panels that enriches few at the expense of the people.

On top of a generous federal tax credit of 20 percent, the state in the waning days of the Gov. Kathleen Blanco Administration passed a law that lards on another 50 percent for solar or wind construction for the first $25,000 in expenses (most installation costs will go above this level, many way above it). The most recent figures indicate that costs $13 million a year, and the generosity is such that the forgone dollars are expanding rapidly.

22.10.12

Impending race to show which Republican joins Court

Get ready for a unpredictable Supreme Court District 5 contest to replace retiring Chief Justice Kitty Kimball where the only thing predictable about it is the winner will be a Republican.


Judicial contests in Louisiana take on peculiar characteristics. Legally, judges can’t organize their own campaigns but may have committees do so on their behalf. The public perceives that the office cannot be overly political, clinging to the idea that ideology should not affect decisions, which also affects campaigning. As a result, these tend to be low-information affairs with less issue guidance for voters, magnifying name recognition’s influence on the vote. The effect becomes particularly acute when no incumbent runs for a spot on the state’s highest court.

Thus the two most important factors in these are campaign money spent and endorsements. Reviewing these factors for the five Republicans, two Democrats and one no-party contestant in a district roughly five-eighths white, one-third black with the majority of Democrats blacks and majority of whites Republicans begins with whether a Democrat can make it to the inevitable runoff.

21.10.12

Kennedy comment only fuels perception as opportunist

Treasurer John Kennedy’s assumed gubernatorial candidacy took a hit last week with an incident that goes against the narrative he has tried painstakingly to create and, worse, feeds the one that has kept him from advancing beyond this one and only elective office he ever has held.


The state swallowed a bitter pill last week when it decided to fork over as much as $95 million in a bond retirement deal for the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, because the interest rate environment and lapsing of a special federal income tax exemption would make the eventual payouts even higher through 2036. Essentially, the state made the wrong bet on interest rates and has gotten caught in a situation where it would have paid high rates for many years to come.

The state entity that runs the building, the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, bears part of the blame for accepting the broker’s idea, but the ones who work out the details are in the Treasury Department headed by Kennedy. He also, as part of that office, runs the State Bond Commission and was present on Mar. 6, 2006, when the $294 million sale went through and was the only item on the agenda.