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LA needs strengthening of voter ID requirements

That the cause of elections integrity has suffered setbacks in some states in recent weeks does not mean that Louisiana should not do more to strengthen its semi-lax laws regarding voting.

Of course, recent judicial interventions overturning state laws requiring forms of photo identification to vote, done largely at the hands of appointees of White House Democrats and who tend to liberal jurisprudence, represent a political strategy. By hoping to push these cases into the Supreme Court next year, now equally balanced between justices who make decisions on the bases of activism and of constructionism, in counting upon a leftist jurist to replace the vacancy of the late Assoc. Justice Antonin Scalia they hope to find a way to create a court to invalidate such requirements. The left believes by degrading elections integrity it will gain an electoral advantage as non-citizens and less-informed citizens who would be less likely to make the effort to acquire photo identification typically are more manipulable and more prone to identifying as Democrats.

Scalia, probably the most brilliant member of the Court over the past several decades, probably would have applauded the dissent in the highest profile of these cases, Veasey V. Abbott heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which pointed out the majority’s politicized assumption that strict identification laws automatically connoted discriminatory intent. The problem is activist judges routinely commit such errors in pursuit of a political agenda, and his replacement if of that sentiment likely would send the entire Court in that direction on this and many other issues.


Drawdown aids in creating sensible film tax credit

That giant sucking sound you heard came from film industry locusts extracting money from Louisiana’s taxpayers. But after that happened, a model for the future of the state’s Motion Picture Investor Film Credit had its debut recently in Shreveport.

In less than a month from the Jul. 1 reinstitution of the state’s buying back of these tax credits, the amount eligible, $239 million, got vacuumed up by largely nonresidents. Program reforms put a moratorium on the state’s repurchase, 85 cents on the buck, for the previous fiscal year. Relatively low demand for this break’s use against state income taxes meant only $121 million got applied against each fiscal year’s $180 million cap, so that amount left over rolled into this year’s.

This starkly reveals the program’s past use: as a tool to siphon taxpayer dollars into financing the making of movies in a one-off fashion, contrary to policy-makers’ intent that it serve as an incentive to develop a homegrown filmmaking infrastructure. Otherwise, more use against taxes and less as transfer payments would occur.


Senate candidates spew inanities to break from pack

The hair-splitting in Louisiana’s U.S. Senate contest continues its exponential growth, providing a clear indicator of all but one candidate’s insecurities in making it to the inevitable general election runoff.

With two dozen candidates on offer and perhaps with 10 who actually can affect the outcome of the race, the scramble to get in the runoff has all but one of them desperately searching for issues by which to differentiate themselves positively to voters. Only Republican state Treas. John Kennedy, universally indicated in polls as having a hefty lead over all comers, had abjured from this approach.

It began almost three months ago when Republican Rep. John Fleming sent out a press release accusing fellow GOP House member Charles Boustany of promoting higher taxes and insufficient zeal against social engineering supported by Democrat Pres. Barack Obama. Focusing on one bill, H.R. 5055, Fleming contrasted his votes concerning it with Boustany’s.


LA parks must balance revenues, public needs

As Louisiana looks to create a more fiscally-sound budget, a welcome review of the scope and role of state parks should bring focus to policy options that fulfill appropriately the function of government yet do not forget the public service aspect.

With state revenues having difficulty in keeping up with spending, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and officials dealing with parks, part of his portfolio as the state’s second-ranked executive, have investigated a number of ideas to draw in more and more stable receipts to fund Louisiana’s 32 parks and historic sites. Among others things, hikes in entry fees and rentals and awarding naming rights have come under study.

To save money, Nungesser’s predecessor, now Commissioner of Administration, Jay Dardenne removed personnel from lightly-visited historical sites, mostly war-related, but no parks have closed for fiscal reasons. In fact, from fiscal year 2008, parks have seen their budget increase from $33 million to $35 million, so the expenditure side has driven the monetary pinch that parks now experience.