Search This Blog


Solar industry fights loss of subsidies with bogus claim

Recipients of Louisiana’s second-biggest transfer of wealth by the state’s tax code, facing their lifelines potentially attenuated even further, are pulling out all the stops to keep utility ratepayers in the state to continue padding their bottom lines.

The last year has not been kind to solar energy system installers in the state. In 2013, the Legislature sunset the absurdly generous tax credit of 50 percent for installation, which when combined with the federal version meant 80 percent of an installation (roughly $25,000 on average residentially) could be paid for. This made installation companies sprout like mushrooms with money that would have gone to the state instead going to purchase their services, for a technology that continues to be low yield for high price.

Wisely, the credit was reduced to 38 percent, but even better it will go out of existence after 2017. This puts companies on notice that they need to be competitive in the market by then, this weaning being the intent of these kinds of credits. Understandably, this has caused a crisis among them, knowing that a lot has to happen in the next 42 months to allow them to become so or else most are going out of business.


Puff piece on LA Medicaid expansion serves poorly

The political alchemy continues coming from Democrats through tactics of distraction and distortion to make the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) not serve as a liability to its midterm election candidates – and, in the case of Louisiana, aided by at least one media outlet.

Yesterday, the Pres. Barack Obama Administration’s Council of Economic Advisers released a document purporting to show the impact of states not accepting expansion of Medicaid, listing how many of the indigent as a result do not have health care coverage, procedures they could receive with it, and alleging that it would create jobs. Louisiana is one of the almost half of all states that have refused to do this.

Naturally, the slanted information produces a cornucopia of omissions and selective use of data, with the last assertion of job creation being the easiest shibboleth to demolish. Theoretically, it fails because the reasoning used – more government spending creates more jobs – would mean then we should proceed immediately to end-stage Soviet communism by eliminating the private sector to achieve full employment and maximal economic growth through making government the only economic producer, and we know well that worked out in practice. The argument also fails analytically because it does not take into account the jobs destroyed by taking more of what people earn that they could use through their own market-based decisions to create wealth and jobs.


Accusers of intolerance toss stones from glass house

So it turns out that a special interest is aggrieved at having a northeast Louisiana family business sponsor the Independence Bowl. Unfortunately, that exemplifies the continued impoverishment of political debate.

Still trucking along approaching four decades, earlier this year the organization inked a new sponsor in the form of the Robertson family’s Duck Commander hunting supply business based in West Monroe, which is featured as part of a reality television show. This came not too long after the founder of the company, Phil Robertson, made some controversial remarks. In essence, he asserted that blacks were happy before the civil rights movement in the 1960s and that homosexual behavior was sinful. Since then, he has reiterated in public several times his belief in the sinful nature of homosexual behavior.

This seemed to be too much for Shreveport’s People Acting for Change and Equality, whose spokeswoman mused publicly whether the Bowl having Duck Commander as its title sponsor (the contract is through 2019) was for the best. PACE lobbies for increased legalization of aspects related to homosexual behavior, such as supporting same sex marriage.


Reform away use of bonus money for operating budget

It’s not so much as how not to run a railroad, to echo the vernacular used by Louisiana’s Treasurer John Kennedy, but in running the railroad better when it comes to using revenues coming from one-time events.

Kennedy made this characterization when releasing information about monies still owed to the state even as the fiscal year was coming to a close. He claimed the amount to be $134 million, out of $413 million derived from property sales, legal settlements, lease payments, loan repayments and other financing arrangements.

Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols reminded that, for accounting purposes, any budgeted money collected prior to Aug. 15 would be credited to fiscal year 2014 completed today. Only then would the state face a shortfall if that didn’t come through. She predicted that, except for money from the sale of Southeast Louisiana Hospital that got delayed and slightly reduced for legal reasons which could be compensated from greater proceeds from an anti-fraud initiative than figured, the other missing funds would come in by then.


Line item vetoes show continued Jindal policy relevance

Even as the need for casting line item vetoes in the mind of Gov. Bobby Jindal seems to have greatly diminished, his treatment of Louisiana’s fiscal year 2015 budget shows he continues with no less enthusiasm to use them when needed that hints maybe a hypothesized inability to influence policy concerning the Legislature seems exaggerated.

The edition of the state’s spending plan drew only eight line item vetoes from Jindal. This contrasts with the 258 from the first one that came his way in 2008, when he had laid out guidelines to govern the funding of nongovernment organizations which many line items didn’t follow. Very quickly legislators got with the program and in recent years most of his vetoes of this kind have come over policy disagreements about what government should fund and where.

One was to close off an attempted carving out of funds for a University of Louisiana at Lafayette organization that didn’t make the final cut, another to axe a favoring of one area New Orleans NGO at the expense of others, and still another was to prevent an apparent sweetheart deal concerning a nursing home that could keep its reimbursement rates higher than otherwise that had germinated in the House Appropriations Committee. But the two most consequential dealt with emergency room reimbursement rates and a continuing feud propagated by a legislator.