Jeffrey D. Sadow is an associate professor of political science at Louisiana State University Shreveport. If you're an elected official, political operative or anyone else upset at his views, don't go bothering LSUS or LSU System officials about that because these are his own views solely.
This publishes Sunday through Thursday with the exception of 7 holidays. Also check out his Louisiana Legislature Log especially during legislative sessions (in "Louisiana Politics Blog Roll" below).
Part of the piece pointed out the
privileged status of nursing homes in Louisiana and how that would impact
Medicaid spending in light of Gov. John Bel Edwards’
declaration to expand Medicaid. It noted:
A constitutional amendment passed
in 2014, for which Edwards voted as a legislator, exacerbates the looming
crisis. That change essentially locked in the reimbursement rate for
privately-operated nursing homes, adjustable upwards by inflation, despite
Louisiana’s institutions having among the lowest occupancy rates of the states.
Worse, the formula used pushed up the rate artificially by including
non-Medicaid patients and also pays operators over $15 million annually for empty
beds due to over-capacity ….
Almost three years ago he railed
against a plan that would have given Louisiana in the aggregate the highest
sales tax in the country. During his run for governor, he said he would not
raise taxes and decried the use of “one-time” money to balance budgets.
Yesterday, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards,
eight days into office, declared he wanted to do all of the above to address this fiscal year's predicted budget deficit.
Of course, Edwards
disclaimed all responsibility for the about-face in his economic policy,
alleging that he had not known of the mounting difficulties with the fiscal
year 2016 budget, which his administration now asserts to be $750 million in
the red. Never mind that as a legislator Edwards had access to all of this
information, which comes to the Legislature on a monthly basis, that should not
have made for any surprise of an escalating deficit and leaving plenty of time
to start planning.
Naturally, as part of that he
indicated the real responsibility for this lay with his predecessor former Gov.
Jindal. He contended that Jindal’s budgeting tactics – which he ratified
five out of eight times as a legislator – brought matters to this head,
implying he bore no blame for whatever he suggested. He then laid out a plan
that, at the very least by its verisimilitude to Jindal’s budgeting, makes them
You know when a document thanks
several organizations and individuals for expertise in its report and singles
out by name, among the government agencies and interest groups and academicians, the
rancher, mega-landowner and royalty recipient, and insurance agent Public
Service Commissioner Foster
Campbell, that the proposal has diluted its gravity with politics and
ideology. Campbell, who has no expertise in economics or fiscal matters but who
led the group as a co-chairman, likely got the mention because of his herpetic
pushing over the decades of the tired and discredited
notion of an oil processing tax to replace the severance tax that therefore
naturally had to find its way into the document.
populist belief behind it maintains that some alleged surplus profits of
oil companies plus the 98.5 percent of the country that resides outside of the
state would pay for it, forgetting that state concerns consume a much higher
proportion – at least 28 percent – of the processing maximum and that the tax
gets passed along to consumers. That such a measure would go into effect in era
with low worldwide prices putting on the ropes the industry in Louisiana and,
as a result of the soft market, excess refining capacity brimming outside the
state makes it not just a stupid idea, but absurdly so.
Just after that happened, Pres. Barack Obama
visited the state and there proclaimed that he would authorize the period in
which the federal government picks up all reimbursement costs of expansion
(Louisiana still will have to fork over several million dollars extra the first
half of the next fiscal year to cover administrative costs) to the first three
years of it for a state, not in the 2014-2016 period as the law reads. As it
currently stands, Louisiana would receive total reimbursement for care costs only
during the first six months of its next fiscal year.
Keep in mind that Obama typically operates
in a dictatorial mode whenever Congress insists on following the Constitution
in its power to make law by refusing to pass Obama’s requests; he responds by issuing
extra-constitutional executive orders and signing statements to attempt to
bypass the rules by which this representative democracy exists, so he has
gotten into the habit of saying he will make things happen that constitutionally
he cannot. The fact is, he can promise only to put this idea into the budget
for the Republican-led Congress to do with it whatever it sees fit.