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Citizens benefit by GOP calling Democrats' tax bluff

State Sen. Rob Marionneaux got his bluff called and he doesn’t like it, exactly the opposite reaction of what should come from true fiscal conservatives in regards to his bill that now eliminates income taxes over time and promises to reduce the size of government.

Marionneaux offered up SB 259, which in amended form reduced by a tenth state individual and corporate income taxes annually starting in fiscal year 2012-13. But it further got amended on the Senate floor to force a commission to come up with a cost-cutting plan to offset static revenue losses that must gain legislative approval before the beginning of that fiscal year in order for the snipping to begin.

Which perturbed Marionneaux to no end, as he thundered about how it was a hidden effort to derail the idea of wiping out the taxes.


Cowardly lawmakers perpetuate wasteful college spending

Even with a historical culture rife with actions indicative of paper tigers, feet of clay, and absence of spines, the 2011 Louisiana Legislature continues to set new lows in its gutless avoidance of responsibility and implying blame to anybody but themselves for its members’ stupid policy choices.

One might have thought this asininity had reached its zenith in the House with its adoption of HR 27, which created a broadly-defined classification of budgeted dollars called “one-time money” that would require a two-thirds majority to approve. By doing so, it allowed members to divert attention away from the major flaw in the state’s fiscal structure – legislators’ ubiquitous habit of dedicating funds without any thought of setting priorities and making choices that created so much “one-time money” that never would be used for its dedicated purposes in the first place – that they manufactured and refused to fix so that they could continue to use that as a crutch to avoid making responsible decisions. That way, they could posture themselves as faux “fiscal conservatives” through treatment of the symptom rather than the disease.

But now the House, no doubt silently cheered on by the Senate that can use its counterpart’s action as cover, is blazing a new trail in irresponsibility in maintaining a fiscal structure to higher education guaranteed to waste taxpayers’ money.


Surplus LA employees retained but will contribute more

So it comes to this: more taxpayer dollars get wasted just to keep a few people off unemployment rolls. But at least they’ll be paying more of their fair share for their pensions.

HB 545 by state Rep. Henry Burns would have privatized both operations and assets of three state prisons and operations at two more. But it lost narrowly in House committee amid concerns that it might cost the state more in the long run but perhaps more influenced by the possibility of state employees losing their jobs as some might not be rehired by private operators because of the increased efficiency such operators would bring.

That’s what the research shows at least, although it is more definitive on the issue that privatizing operations only is most likely to produce savings with no reduction in quality.


Some Caddo commissioners show leadership on limits

Something to keep in mind as campaigns for fall races begin is who badly do incumbents wish to keep themselves in office. Last year's debate over term limits repeal by the Caddo Parish Commission served as a useful reminder of their utility and of the foibles about opponents’ arguments against them.

When the matter came up, pushed by then-mayoral candidate and Commissioner David Cox, it actually received a 7-5 majority, but as the parish charter mandates a two-thirds majority to put changes to it on the ballot, the motion failed. Those who wanted some kind of change included the two currently-limited members, one serving a partial term, one elected rookie, two career politicians (one on his second stint on the commission, the other a long time school board member), and Cox, on his second term.

One wonders why Cox brought this up, with no obvious impetus for a change being voiced among the public, in the middle of his Shreveport mayoral campaign.