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Lawmakers botch lukewarm LA convention attempt

Given an opportunity to concoct corrections to fiscal flaws in Louisiana’s Constitution, lawmakers flinched earlier this week.

HB 456 by Democrat Rep. Neil Abramson would have appointed a panel to assess whether the state needed a limited constitutional convention, originally focusing on revenue and finance, local government finance, retirement systems, and higher education organization and finance. If deemed wise, the panel would join delegates elected from House of Representatives districts to work on a document incorporating any changes that voters could approve.

While the bill covered appropriate subject matter, it erred in stumping for the 27 superdelegates representing special interests, elected officials, and academia both to set the agenda and to participate in deliberations. This passed along too much power to entrenched interests. More appropriately, it could have replaced them at the convention with additional delegates elected from the 39 Senate districts. Further, delegate election could have excluded any state or local elected official who had served in the previous six years, to ensure, unlike the last such effort in 1974, that those with ties to government organized along the lines of the present arrangement that has proven lacking do not have outsized influence over the product.


Angelle moves on from LA, leaving mixed legacy

It seems that former Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle has ended his long career in Louisiana politics, frustrated by a decision he made which reverberates statewide to this day.

Before assuming his position on the PSC, Republican Angelle had logged time in a number of positions in local and state government in a career progression pointing to the Governor’s Mansion. The time seemed best to take that step after his previous boss GOP former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s second term ended.

However, a significant obstacle presented itself in the form of Republican former Sen. David Vitter, who had wielded more influence over the state’s politics than any other politician over the previous decade. Throughout his career having articulated almost entirely undiluted conservatism with a dash anti-big-government populism, Vitter would present a formidable obstacle.


Bad LA film tax credit fix better than none

Louisiana seems set to test, in the case of the Motion Picture Investors Tax Credit, whether bad legislation is better than no legislative solution at all.

This week, the House of Representatives likely will take up and approve of SB 254 by Democrat state Sen. JP Morrell. It tinkers around the margins with the film tax credit program that independent study after independent study has demonstrated costs Louisianans far more in income tax rebates paid out than in revenues supplied to government as a result of its existence.

Besides this transference of a large amount of wealth from taxpayers that could fund other priorities such as higher education and health care to a relatively small number of individuals, mostly outside the state and/or wealthy, the law has attracted a number criticisms at which the bill hardly addresses. It establishes a cap of requests for credits at $150 million a year and a payout of $180 million annually, which can be rolled forward or backwards for years with excess requests, for the next three years which then declines to $150 million for the next five. This period of higher paying takes up slack from credits banked from previous years.


Memorial Day, 2017

This column publishes every Sunday through Thursday around noon U.S. Central Time (maybe even after sundown on busy days, or maybe before noon if things work out, or even sometimes on the weekend if there's big news) except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Monday through Friday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, Christmas, or New Year's Day when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, in addition to these are also Easter Sunday, Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.

With Monday, May 29 being Memorial Day, I invite you to explore this link.