Search This Blog


Edwards' cutting negates tax hike argument

As a mechanic/Marine used to say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise:” Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office won’t have to lay off staffers after all. And the credibility gap attached to the Democrat’s rhetoric continues to grow.

All throughout the first part of the year, Edwards predicted doom and gloom to Louisiana’s budget that only enormous tax increases could balance. He kept insisting that, instead of making unilateral modest spending reductions of around five percent across most agencies, he largely could not cut his way to balancing last fiscal year’s budget, prompting a special session prior to this year’s regular session to hike taxes. Concerning this year’s version, he kept asserting that a cut-first strategy would gut vital programs that demanded more tax increases in another special session. After that, even though he voted for and signed $2.4 billion worth of tax increases in a 13-month span, he still talked about the disappointment of not gulping down more taxpayer dollars to stave off cuts a recalcitrant Republican-led Legislature forced upon him.

These included around $700,000 reduced from the Governor’s Office, which received over $9.1 million in funding this year, compared to last year, a 7.7 percent drop (over the original figure; that declined a bit through mid-year cuts). Edwards moaned about how this meant some staff reductions, where already the governor had budgeted some $200,000 fewer for personnel.


LA Senate field set; Kennedy remains favorite

With a slight wildcard tossed in, Louisiana’s 2016 Senate race qualification closed with little change in its dynamics that continue to make Republican Treasurer John Kennedy a clear favorite, as reflected in the most recent (becoming stale) independent poll of the contest.

A record two dozen candidates put themselves out there (creating potential headaches for debate planners), with the five major candidates taking the plunge; besides Kennedy, the GOP put on offer Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming, while Democrats Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and trial lawyer Caroline Fayard signed up. With them several relevant candidates – those who will not run competitively but whose presence will affect the electoral performances of the major candidates that will be competitive – also went for it: Republican former Senate candidate Rob Maness, Republican businessman Abhay Patel, Democrat businessman Josh Pellerin, no-party former state legislator Troy Hebert, and former state Rep. Prisoner #28213-034, out of the slammer called David Duke.

Both Patel and Pellerin have deep pockets to self-finance campaigns if called upon, but will score little because the electoral spaces they seek to occupy have quality candidates already in place. If Patel wants to run as an outsider businessman, Fleming already can claim that and obtaining actual results as an “outsider” to the Washington political establishment by his votes cast and minor role in changing the House’s leadership. Pellerin, who presents himself as liberal version of Patel, will find it tough sledding to peel votes from the populist liberal Campbell and liberal non-officeholder Fayard, both whom also can self-finance.


GOP trio emerges as LA-4 CD favorites

Qualifying has closed for the selection of Republican Rep. John Fleming’s successor, with the northwest/western Louisiana district’s next U.S. House member likely coming from one of a prominent social conservative, a Main Street Republican, or a political newcomer riding the outsider wave notable in this election cycle.

Relevant candidates filing include physician Dr. Trey Baucum, Shreveport City Councilman Oliver Jenkins, state Rep. Mike Johnson, former legislator Elbert Guillory, attorney Rick John – Republicans all – joined by Democrat lawyer Marshall Jones. All are white and from Shreveport/Bossier, except for Guillory, who is black and from the southern part of the district.

That list contains the major candidates who could win, with John not among them. He has lagged badly in fundraising, well under $100,000, compared to Baucum and Jenkins who each have topped a half million bucks, and Johnson with over a quarter of a million dollars. Nor is Guillory; while he has a high profile, having most recently run unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor, his campaign seems as desultory as that one with only around $100,000 raised.


Edwards seeks to foist unneeded, wasteful ER on LA

There’s a right way to provide quality health care services using taxpayer dollars wisely. That’s not what’s going on with the stated intent of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Administration to put an emergency room in northern Baton Rouge.

With the closing of the city’s charity hospital in the area a few years ago and transfer of most of the services it provided previously to a hospital in southern Baton Rouge, a health care hole opened up in north Baton Rouge. Most patients had their bills paid by Medicaid, with many living in that area. When those services moved several miles south, clients found transportation to these more challenging. This becomes magnified when people need emergency services.

That situation became more exacerbated when the next closest full-service hospital, Baton Rouge General Medical Center Mid City, closed its emergency room. It had hemorrhaged money because increasingly its patient load comprised Medicaid patients, who disproportionately use emergency services even though most of their ailments do not require that kind of intervention. Medicaid reimbursements fell far short of actual operating costs, which threatened to drag under the entire hospital.