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Edwards shows openness to take disabled hostage

The scorched earth road show must go on, Louisiana’s Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards indicated with his line item vetoes of the state fiscal year 2018 operating budget.

Edwards signed the Second Extraordinary Session’s HB 1 earlier this week, but took advantage of the governor’s Constitutional power to excise individual sections or expenditures. While the Legislature as part of a veto session could override these with majority assent in both chambers, that never has happened since enactment of the 1974 Constitution.

He excised only four items, none dealing with a direct expenditure. But two seemed clearly related to a strategy focusing on expanding government rather than budgeting on the basis of genuine needs while allowing citizens to keep more of what they earn.


Gasbags Landrieu, Richmond talk disingenuously

What is it about New Orleans that produces politicians who, especially when the national spotlight hits them, turn into such insufferable windbags?

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu recently took over as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, using his acceptance speech to showcase his superior ability to say one thing while actually doing another. That talent Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro previously had laid bare to Baton Rouge Advocate readers when in an opinion piece last month he excoriated Landrieu’s crime policy.

Cannizzaro cited Landrieu for placing “politics above public safety” through pursuing policies that endangered citizens, as reflected in a rapidly escalating number of shootings this year. He noted how Landrieu talked up policies that create an “illusion of public safety,” while Landrieu continued to staff the city’s police department well below optimal levels and cut funding to Cannizzaro’s office.


GOP lawamkers, not Edwards, can call fiscal tune

To Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ invitation to share in blame for his tax-and-spend agenda, Louisiana’s legislative Republicans should demur.

Edwards recently announced that he might forgo a special session of the Legislature under certain conditions. An additional meeting outside of the 2018 regular session prior to the end of the fiscal year is widely anticipated to address the disappearance of temporary taxes by then, at current spending levels leaving a gap of about $1.2 billion.

Realizing the resistance of majority of the Republican House caucus members to tax increases generally, Edwards proclaimed that he would not call such a session unless GOP leadership rallied behind some kind of raise, calling to do so in those circumstances a waste of time and money. For their part, leaders such as Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras has conceded the necessity of some kind of tax renewal/increase.


Study falters in finding significant gerrymandering

Despite a weak attempt to show otherwise, partisan gerrymandering above any minor influence does not exist relative to Congress, although whether it could in Louisiana’s Legislature is difficult to ascertain.

The Associated Press breathlessly reported that “Republicans had a real advantage” for 2016 elections in both statehouse and the U.S. House of Representatives as a result of drawn district boundaries. Combining its own analysis with some academic literature, it concluded that in both arenas the GOP won more seats than the distribution of votes among parties in states would have suggested, alleging that this came as a result of partisan gerrymandering.

That politicians have engaged in this strategy for two centuries certainly is not new, and unquestionably, as past studies have shown, at the margins it influences seat distribution. But in claiming a more significant role for partisan gerrymandering, the AP study resorts to dubious assertions and makes the classic error of confusing association with causation.