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11.7.19

Shreveport must scrap liquor law favoritism

If Louisiana ranks as the state with the most barriers to entry in business, Shreveport may be the state’s major city most restrictive in that category.

As recently demonstrated in a suit concerning useless requirements for braiding hair, the state has the most onerous occupational licensing regime among all. And local governments can pile on additional strictures that can be at least as needless.

That has come to the forefront as an issue concerning sales of unprepared food and high-content alcohol in Shreveport. A new business called Corks & Cuts located in the extreme southern portion of the city – an area recently annexed because of the high-end retail and commercial residences springing up there – wishes to sell spirits and steak cuts. But Ordinance 10-84 prohibits such sales unless a wall of at least 6 feet separates the area with alcohol from that where other goods are sold, and that separate entrances exist for each area. The owners complain that this would require renting the next-door retail space and make $60,000 in modifications.

10.7.19

More reason not to hike LA minimum wage

Need another good reason to understand the utter folly of attempts to make Louisiana raise its minimum wage? Just observe those touchscreen checkouts when you walk into a store selling groceries.

By now, informed individuals know full well how the minimum wage costs jobs and how, because almost no sole breadwinners of families work full-time at the minimum wage and even fewer of them are younger than 25, the modal category of such workers are young, recent job force entrants who have no dependents and live in a household with others who are employed (particularly when removing the 70 percent who technically earn below it but more than make up for that in tips). Single parents with older children working full-time at minimum wage are hardly more common than unicorns.

The minimum wage by nature serves as a job training tool, to acclimate new workers to certain desirable traits such as punctuality and dependability, while imparting certain skills and motivating individuals to work better so as to deserve a raise – remember that wages vary directly with productivity – or to move into a job that pays more. In fact, its artificiality in setting a floor on pay induces economic inefficiency by overpaying for the actual productive value of the work, denying a more efficient use of that capital.

9.7.19

Schroder sequester bedevils ironic Edwards

Irony stares Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards right in the face as Republican Treasurer John Schroder hoists him on his own petard.

Last week, Schroder announced that he would not authorize a move of $25 million from the unclaimed property account to the general fund as budgeted. The fund keeps monies owed to the public by state government, which in its balance floats between $850 million and $900 million. Around $88 million comes in every year, and until this year creditor entities typically claimed only around $30 million annually.

However, the balance doesn’t go higher because the Legislature siphons off tens of millions annually. R.S. 9:165.1 allows $15 million yearly to go towards completion of Interstate 49, but the rest goes into the general fund. Further, in the past year repayment efforts have improved considerably, meaning in the future the gap between retained and claimed will shrink and leave fewer dollars theoretically available for immediate use. In fact, the gap’s magnitude shrunk so much that Schroder reported difficulty in paying off successful claims in a timely fashion.

8.7.19

Arrests often arrest NW LA political ambition

History would suggest that Shreveport City Councilor Levette Fuller just put a cap on a  promising political career.

The first-term Democrat was arrested last week on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and texting while driving. Specifically, police found her vehicle stopped in the middle of the road in the wee hours of the morning, where she informed them that while texting she may have hit another car and had drank two to three glasses of wine. A later social media post on a site advertising itself as connected to her Council position seemed to come off as an admission and apology.

Although on the Council just a few months, Fuller already had made an impression that suggested she might aspire to higher office. She won in her district that has a small black majority and in her short period in office developed a reputation for fiscal restraint, opposing intrusive regulation and laws, and promoting transparency, bucking controversial decisions made by another black Democrat elected rookie, Mayor Adrian Perkins.

7.7.19

Edwards displays vindictiveness again

Legislators ideologically opposed to Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, if this turns out to be his last round of line-item vetoes, won’t miss his vindictiveness.

That trait he put on clear display with decisions concerning HB 2, Louisiana’s capital outlay budget. Often, governors will use this power as a weapon to punish legislators who champion measures not only contrary to his worldview about politics, but also which have the potential to make him look bad.

Edwards used the power sparsely in this election year, excising only six items out of over $4 billion worth (although a distinct portion represents only a pledge, not the actual disbursement of cash or intention to issue bonds). But each sent a message.