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4.8.16

Blame selves or installers for solar tax change impact

If any blame needs distributing concerning the impact of Louisiana’s dwindling solar installation tax credit, those wishing to foist it should look first at themselves and then the firms that sold them the solar energy bill of goods.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune decided to poke around for reactions to the effects of the 2015 change in the credit. Once the nation’s most generous, until the middle of last year it essentially gave back 50 percent of an installed system. Better, the credits were made refundable, so to pay for much of the system many buyers would take out a loan from the installers interest free for a period as long as reasonably expected to have the refund show up after filing income taxes – in addition to the 30 percent federal tax credit. And if the buyer still could not manage the several thousand dollars still owed, installers would lease it or price it for sale in a way to eat the difference, with the lucrative government giveaways still allowing them to profit.

But Act 31 of 2015 changed the game, capping the previously-unlimited program that had given away hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars at $10 million distributed in each of fiscal years 2016 and 2017, and $5 million for the first half of FY 2018, then ending the subsidy permanently. This created a class of buyers who paid for systems in the first half of 2015 – FY 2015 – but only could file for the credit on their 2015 state income taxes starting the second half of FY 2016. Filings so far this calendar year, for systems installed in 2015, not only blew straight through the FY 2016 amount, but also the FY 2017 amount and all but $1 million of the truncated FY 2018 amount.

3.8.16

Activists promote inferior policing strategy in LA

A good rule of thumb: whenever “activists” tell you to do something, do the opposite. That seems verified by comments some trendy folks made concerning policing tactics in Louisiana.

Last weekend some individuals weighed in on police shootings in Louisiana, contrasting events of this year in Baton Rouge with the high-profile shooting death of Alton Sterling, collector of multiple arrests over the previous two decades. A federal investigation will render a judgment in the next several months on the appropriateness of police actions concerning that incident.

These same individuals represent organizations that have brought suit against Baton Rouge police for their handling of protests against the Sterling shooting, which they allege involved too much use of force that denied free speech rights. They made remarks at the Louisiana Green Party convention contrasting the relative hands-off approach they perceive practiced by New Orleans police, noting no such excessive force complaints against NOPD so far in 2016.

2.8.16

Trump success, Duke fantasy fueled by liberalism

With the simultaneous acquisition of the Republican nomination for president by businessman Donald Trump and entrance into Louisiana’s U.S. Senate contest by former state Rep. David Duke, naturally voices opposed to conservatism had to make strained efforts to connect the emergence of Trump and resurfacing of Duke as related representations of the political right in general. Yet this demonstrates only tone deafness to the genuine linkage that has more to do with liberalism’s failure to articulate a vision that genuinely inspires and benefits all people.

The boilerplate that comes from both state and national sources is that Duke’s belief that his time has come stems from the success of Trump’s prominent nationalism as a campaign theme, which on some occasions has led to accusations of Trump stereotyping minorities and foreigners, most recently regarding parents of Muslim army officer killed in Iraq. Of course, Duke stopped apologizing long ago after failed attempts for statewide office for displaying unvarnished white supremacist views that fit as a subset.

But to allege Trump harbors nativist sentiments that connect to Duke’s racism through some current national mood on the right misses the crucial role that the follies of liberalism have contributed in making this linkage. Properly understood, na├»ve populism nurtured and sustained on the left has acted as a Colistin-resistant E. coli crossing over to the right.

1.8.16

Felon/racism resolution unhelpful for LA GOP

It’s not so much that a resolution by the Louisiana Republican Party’s State Central Committee to prevent convicted felons and racists would be an empty gesture, but that it promotes unenforceable mischief.

In the wake of disgraced former state Rep. David Duke running again for the U.S. Senate seat up for grabs this fall, Republican officials appear set to consider at their next meeting this ban on candidates qualifying for office using the GOP label. According to preliminary reports, if two-thirds of the RSCC vote accordingly, this change in bylaws will disallow individuals fitting these categories from running as Republicans. Had not the judiciary recently struck down the state’s ban on felon participation in elections for a period after end of sentence, Duke could not have qualified.

It won’t work. The American system drafts parties as instruments to conduct elections and, like other states, Louisiana defines what parties to recognize for registration and candidacy purposes. Party bylaws can’t change that. In Louisiana, candidates who meet qualifications for an office must employ their party designation according to their elector registration, paying an extra filing fee if they registered as a member of a recognized political party that has chosen to impose one. Pay the fee for the particular office consistent with registration, and legally that affiliation appears on the ballot next to the name. A party cannot change that law unilaterally, and only change in statute would make such a restriction effective.