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).
As Louisiana’s majoritarian branches
of government struggle within their bubble in dealing with budgetary deficits,
out in the larger world other things still happen that require their attention,
and one flare-up may portend a coming struggle in the next state elections.
previously noted, federal law requires this cooperation but the Obama
Administration has signaled it will turn a blind eye toward that. Without this
oversight, the state can’t do much at present to ensure this necessary working
together except possibly to withhold policing grant money that does not amount
to much. Even an executive order doing this from Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards
might not legally get the job done – assuming he would do something like that,
which seems doubtful given his party’s position on this issue.
The attempt to normalize
Louisiana’s higher rate of spending into permanency and taxation to support it
continued with Senate action in the Legislature’s special session, begging for
a counter-reaction to stop this unsavory development.
HB 62 by
state Rep. Katrina
Jackson in normal times would be regarded as a detestable standalone tax
increase. But with a budgetary gap in the neighborhood of $900 million needing
closing prior to the end of June, these abnormal times sanitize it for
swallowing. Understand that it only exacerbates the problem of state government
overspending in Louisiana, as the state ranks 18th
highest among them in that per capita
spending (using estimated 2015 expenditures)
Ideally, Louisiana would adjust
down its level of spending, as well as allocate revenues so that they more
likely get to priority areas, in response to stagnant revenues and escalating
expenditures as a means to right-size bloated government. The short term makes this
impractical for the remainder of the fiscal year, but entirely realistic for
the longer term. Thus, any tax hikes now proposed must last as brief a time as
possible – apparently through Jun. 30, 2018 given the need to use the funds for
recurring expenses while adhering to statute and the Constitution.
It’s official: Louisiana
Democrats have cracked
up, drawing exactly the wrong lessons from last fall’s unforeseen victory
of Gov. John Bel
Edwards that make the most likely outcome of this fall’s U.S. Senate
contest electing the Republican they least desire.
With north Louisiana’s Public
Service Commissioner Foster Campbell joining
his fellow partisan Democrat Caroline
Fayard in the contest, that puts two committed and independently wealthy
liberal Democrats into the field. Republicans Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming, former Rep. Anh “Joseph”
Cao, Treasurer John Kennedy, and
former Senate candidate Rob Maness
also have taken the plunge.
It also highlights a battle
between different wings of the party demonstrating some delusion among its
elites. Fayard represents the extremist left that controls the state party,
while Campbell comes from the hard left wing that occupies the Governor’s
mansion. They differ on social issues with the extremists further away from the
Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration
and Democrats in the Louisiana Senate seem so desperate to grow government that
they have resorted hypocrisy, if not outright fibbing, about the temporal length
of a tax for the use of its proceeds for operating expenses of government –
adding to the lack of logic behind justification of their preferred time span.
Last week, the House passed HB 62 by state Rep. Katrina Jackson that
would raise the sales tax a cent for the next 18 months. This limit displeased
Edwards, who, despite saying the increase should serve as a “bridge” until the
state reaches more secure revenue-raising footing, behind the scenes wants to
keep as much tax revenue rolling in as possible to support larger government
and buying time to empower constituencies to pressure policy-makers into keeping
the higher spending levels. His Administration therefore said it should last five
years – conveniently removing the necessity of a vote to retain higher taxation
levels prior to an anticipated reelection bid by him.
The Senate’s Revenue and Fiscal
Affairs Committee, with supporting testimony from the Administration, went
along with that, and produced a fig leaf for cover: R.S. 39:2(27), which
deserves full rendering: “’Nonrecurring revenue’ means revenue received by the
state from a source identified by the Revenue Estimating Conference as being of
a nonrecurring nature. ‘Nonrecurring revenue’ does not include revenues
received by the state from any source which has been available for the preceding
two fiscal years or which will be available for the succeeding two fiscal