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Budget deal moves closer to right-sizing LA govt

It seems like things don’t change: the University of Oklahoma just keeps on winning gymnastics and softball national championships.

But things do change: Oklahoma’s winningest football coach of all time – consider this at a school with seven national championships – Bob Stoops is stepping down after 18 seasons.

At no time in its history has this tension played out more significantly in the Louisiana Legislature than in this month of June, which has featured one rearguard action after another by big government advocates to keep the good times rolling to inflate the budget. But when a budget agreement crystallizes sometime today (asseems inevitable), it appears another milestone in right-sizing Louisiana government will have been attained.

Essentially, transforming bloated government that takes too much to do unneeded things into one that fulfills only genuine needs while letting people keep more of what is theirs follows three steps. The first demands a change in attitude, from thinking of government as a vehicle to redistribute power and wealth to something that removes obstructions to give people the opportunity to acquire power and wealth on their own. This means ridding government of both corruption and inattentiveness in steering dollars to best uses.


Tax reform dead until Democrats relent on tax hikes

If we learned anything from the Louisiana Legislature’s stab at tax reform during this regular session, it’s that key Democrats mistake tax increases for it, denoting a harmful unseriousness about it all.

As the 2017 session draws to a close, it will end with no fundamental change occurring to the state’s tax system. This came despite a big buildup over the previous year, with a special panel created to study the issue. It produced a report that emphasized both creating a more efficient system that would spur economic growth yet somewhat contradicted by its desire to increase overall taxation levels.

A raft of proposals came and went, dominated by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ package that hewed more to hiking taxes collected, in net effect raising taxes on individuals somewhat but taxes on corporations substantially. These went nowhere, precisely because of the overall tax increase these would trigger; as such measures require a two-thirds majority in each chamber to pass, well more than that proportion of legislators, almost entirely Republicans, felt restraining the growth of government, if not putting it on a diet, would work to solve any projected budget deficit for the next fiscal year.


Milkovich hopes meritless suit distracts from record

After northwest Louisiana’s Republican state senator afflicted with political schizophrenia had a rough go of it by proxy this spring, his Democrat counterpart upped the ante in wackiness.

Senate District 36’s Republican Ryan Gatti found himself covered by the spotlight shone on his brother when Robbie Gatti made a failed bid for state representative. Ryan Gatti squeaked into office in 2015 by emphasizing social conservatism, deeming education reform overreaching, and alleging adherence to “true conservative principles of fiscal responsibility.” Apparently, he understood that to entail voting for a raft of tax increases and increased regulation on business, and as a result in 2016 earned a score of 22 out of 100 on the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s business-oriented legislator scorecard.

Fairly or not, that pro-government, anti-growth reputation blew back on Robbie Gatti, but he lost more over doubts about his espoused social conservatism than on whatever sins Ryan Gatti was thought to have committed in office by his voting. Still, his brother’s unsuccessful run highlighted Ryan Gatti’s as a catspaw for big government advocate Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, a personal friend of the Gattis whom they assisted in his campaign.


Veto bill to reduce LA penchant for overregulation

Louisiana’s penchant for overregulation strikes again, in this case concerning new car sales, that a governor’s veto can correct.

SB 107 by state Sen. Bodi White, ostensibly to facilitate delivering specialty law enforcement vehicles, went uncontroversially to Gov. John Bel Edwards. But in the process state Rep. Tanner Magee slipped in an amendment that clarified language regarding direct sales of new vehicles.

State law mandates that motor vehicle dealers obtain a license, and promulgates a long list of qualifications necessary, such as having a fixed location with adequate space, that it has a positive effect on the economic well-being of the state, and specifies what it sells. However, statute creates an exception to a violation of direct sales for “operating a dealership” without defining “dealership.” SB 107 changes the language to grant an exception only to “an existing, licensed, and franchised motor vehicle dealership.”