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27.7.17

Dense LA reporter feeds distrust of media

If the attitudes expressed by the Monroe News-Star’s/USA TODAY Network’s Greg Hilburn stand in for those generally of the media, then it’s no surprise why the election and presidency of Pres. Donald Trump and the actions of the Republican legislative majorities in Louisiana flummox them.

Only the Gannett folks thought it newsworthy enough to report about the election of state Rep. Tony Bacala as vice chairman of the Republican Legislative Delegation. Undoubtedly Bacala rose to prominence for his proposals to restrain inefficient government spending, such as bills asking for minimal Medicaid patient responsibility and ending the counterproductive Earned Income Tax credit, and other measures like eliminating vacancies in state government to capture the savings.

Conservative policy prescriptions like these resonate with large minorities, if not with majorities, in Louisiana’s center-right electorate. But not to Hilburn, who characterized Bacala’s ascension as “tightening the far right's grip on the lower chamber.” One wonders if there’s some swastika tattooed on Bacala’s somewhat glabrous pate about which only Hilburn knows, or perhaps he has seen Bacala flash some alt-right signs or gear that has escaped everybody else, to explain how he could write something so opinionated in a news story.

26.7.17

Tax filing law culls inferior LA candidates

It turns out that a change made in recent years to qualifications for Louisiana elected office has brought a welcome order of natural selection for potential policy-makers.

Act 827 of 2010 amended R.S. 18:463 so that for all state and local candidates for office that for each of the previous five tax years, they must have filed his federal and state income tax returns, or filed for an extension of time for filing either federal or state income tax returns or both, or were not required to file either a federal or state income tax return or both. And, every election cycle, this requirement that candidates follow the law regarding their financial reporting to government trips up candidates.

Upcoming New Orleans municipal election have proven no different, if not exceptionally fertile, in this regard. No fewer than half a dozen face some kind of suit over that provision with one already ruled disqualified as a result.

25.7.17

Flood insurance privatization could save LA much

Louisiana’s members of Congress plus its state government can work together to prevent huge taxpayer bailouts for flooding losses while keeping premium costs reasonable.

For almost half a century the government-backed National Flood Insurance Property has dominated the flood casualty industry, which has affected no state more than Louisiana. A fifth of all losses have occurred in it, with a third of all payouts made to it.

Still, flooding in north Louisiana almost 18 months ago and around Baton Rouge about a year ago caught out a large number of properties without the insurance, adding billions more in costs to taxpayers on top of the roughly $25 billion debt the program owes. Dealing with that insolvency, which would force state regulators to close any company with that imbalance in the private sector, has become a major part of reform attempts in 2012, 2014, and in proposed legislation addressing the end of the program’s current authorization at the end of September.

24.7.17

Onus on Edwards to depoliticize police panel

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards found relief from a minor embarrassment that appears not so cut and dried an indictment against the quality of his leadership.

Last week Calvin Braxton, Sr. resigned from the Louisiana State Police Commission, after allegations he tried to exert influence over state troopers. The SPC acts as the body overseeing state police personnel, organized as a civil service separate from other classified state civil service employees.

A television station investigation said, beginning right before Edwards’ inauguration, he attempted to pressure troopers by making them aware of his status on the SPC. Among other things, it hears disputes over aspects of employment, meaning that a member represents one of seven votes that could discipline or discharge a sworn Department of Public Safety employee.