The false narrative propagated by supporters of same-sex marriage came crashing down yesterday as a couple of administrative rulings made clear that the relevant policy question is not about spreading “fairness,” but in fact is about special privileging that tears at the very fabric of fairness.
Recent federal agency actions rippled across their Louisiana counterparts, when the Internal Revenue Service declared that a married jointly filing status could be used by those legally married in a state or the District of Columbia regardless of residence, and the Department of Defense the same for National Guard benefits. Louisiana’s response was that the law would have to be changed in regards to income tax filing to unlink status because the Constitution forbids marriages that are not one man to one woman, and that it would refuse to convey such benefits to same sex couples for the identical reason.
Citizens should note that both of these federal decisions institute forms of tax increases and/or encouragements for deficit spending, although one may have a minor negative impact if at all. While individual income tax circumstances vary, in aggregate an expansion of the married jointly filing status certainly will decrease taxes taken in the immediate future, but may increase them in the future, this having to do with the vagaries of different rates at different, non-equivalent individual and family income levels between this status and filing individually.
When your hand is caught in the cookie jar, the best defense often is to create such a distraction that observers will forget you’re up to your elbow. That’s what state Sen. Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb is trying to do by claiming it’s “a political war against me” when, after years of neglect, a recipient of nearly a million dollars of taxpayer money she initiated into state budgets is being asked to follow the law.
She’s married to the founder of the Colomb Foundation, which began in 2004 and lists in at least one state document that it is to encourage “everyone to adopt habits of personal safety,” to promote “breast cancer prevention and early detection,” and to encourage “reading by publishing and distributing” free books to area youth. That’s all we can go on because, as previously reported, it apparently never received a final letter of determination from the Internal Revenue Service, which would require a statement of purpose, nor filed any of the Form 990s it legally was required to from 2004-10, when as a result it lost its tax-exempt charity status.
Yet it still holds itself out (as of this publication date) illegally as such, even though it apparently never has received any revenues at all from any source, donor or otherwise, except from state and local governments, according to its audited reports filed with the state (typically late and with adverse notes). They show from the state it got a free $300,000 building and the majority of its funds have been spent on administrative expenses, including salaries.
There’s a problem in logic here: if Shreveport is such a great location for site selection of a business concern, then why is Caddo Parish spending $7.5 million more in taxpayer funds to lure to it a manufacturer rejected elsewhere?
Earlier this year, Elio Motors declared it was coming to Shreveport to build its three-wheeled vehicle, coveting the former General Motors plant in the southwest of the city. The state stated it was in line for hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives when production got rolling, and the Caddo Parish Commission jumped in with $1 million guaranteed up front to back bonds to be issued through the parish government’s subsidiary Industrial Development Board.
This, of course, after the federal government, Michigan, and its city of Pontiac turned down similar overtures over concerns that the concept would not be profitable. The CPC subsequently got the same financial information – which makes a host of questionable assumptions and leaves unanswered questions – and oddly then decided earlier this month, with only Commissioner Stephanie Lynch in opposition, to up the ante.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 10:25
It’s like thinking back to a particularly horrific nightmare. You were in it, you knew what it was and how to stop it, but you just couldn’t. That’s the sick feeling limited government advocates should get when they see how over eighty million taxpayer dollars were wasted by the former kingmaker of Louisiana Democrats, Bob Odom, but they also should derive from it a larger lesson.
This space has documented thoroughly (most recently here) the capital projects favored by the former long-time secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, who served seven terms before being forced into a general election runoff in 2007 and then withdrawing to elect current Secretary Mike Strain, that identified them as boondoggles from the start and sounded an alarm of taxpayer money in jeopardy. Unfortunately, as Strain continues to concede, the assessment was entirely correct.
It could have been worse. In addition to two failed government enterprises, dealing with cedar mulching and sugar milling, another sugar mill had been proposed. But head of the State Bond Commission, whose panel must approve such deals utilizing debt, and Treasurer John Kennedy, who had gone along with the mill that got built, balked at the arrangement for another, more expensive version, and eventually was joined by then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco with objections. Together, they had enough votes on the Commission to have the idea rejected, and in doing so preventing the waste from doubling.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 11:35
So if senators who police ethics for their chamber say it’s acceptable to have a member’s spouse engage in real estate transactions with parties who may wish to influence her, why should Louisianans be concerned that Sen. Mary Landrieu and her husband Frank Snellings engage in this?
At least two instances have been uncovered where Snellings has been party to transactions with individuals who lobby for interests on issues she handles through the Senate Energy Committee on which she serves, and perhaps even personally; one, in fact, is a former employee of hers. Given the typical commission rate and prices of the properties, Snellings stood to bring at least around $75,000 into the family coffers as a result of these deals. The matter having been brought before the Senate Ethics Committee, it disposed of this case long ago by following its pattern of ruling that spouses can do any outside work they wish, including lobbying, as long as they don't improperly influence their partners on behalf of paying clients.
It’s legal, and also ethical by Senate standards. But it displays poor judgment on Landrieu’s part because it invites the fox into the henhouse, as long as it swears up and down with no independent verification that it won’t touch the chickens.
Posted by Jeff Sadow at 11:50