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Poll numbers disguise Edwards' vulnerability

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards shouldn’t break his arm patting himself on the back. His latest poll numbers do nothing to remove his underdog status for reelection.

Southern Media Opinion Research released a survey asking for the popularity of several state political figures and opinion on a few issues. Three prominent national Republicans from Louisiana polled between 45-55 percent approval, but Edwards topped them at 65 percent. One, Sen. John Kennedy who drew 54 percent, some speculate may run against Edwards in 2019.

But history has demonstrated only the foolhardy extrapolate polling numbers not at the extremes to electoral strength. Disregarding that things can change in a hurry even to make very high or low numbers not indicative of future electoral performance – witness the sky-high ratings of former Pres. George H. W. Bush yet his losing reelection fewer than two years later – approval ratings occur in isolation, while elections do not. As a case in point, former Pres. Barack Obama’s number stayed under 50 percent for most of his first term, yet because the GOP put up a relatively weak candidate, he managed to score a second term.


LA, its people better off from impending tax reform

It’s official: wide-ranging federal income tax cuts begin in 2018 that promise to boost economic growth and let most people keep more of what they earn. And while tax reform always produces winners and losers, in general Louisiana and Louisianans come out winners.

As previously noted, the state benefits from changes in rules about deductions. The typical taxpayer will see a cut in his federal tax bill, but will take a portion of that to pay a higher Louisiana tax assessment (as the federal rate at all levels exceeds the state rate).

Additionally, while some economists take a less optimistic view of long-term growth as a result of the changes than do others, all agree in the short run a noticeable pickup in economic activity, which will increase organically Louisiana’s tax base. As a result, the Revenue Estimating Conference at its next meeting in the first quarter of 2018 must factor in both sources of revenue boosting, which will reduce any projected deficit and thereby any need to increase taxes after temporary ones roll off at the end of the second quarter.


Edwards loses on contract dispute, but not much

Maybe they both blinked a little, but it seems the more severe eye-watering came from Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards. Although, for him, maybe not for naught.

Last week, the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget approved contracts for Medicaid service providers that manage insurance for 1.5 million Louisianans. It took four tries for Edwards to have approved the $15.4 billion worth of business, or about a quarter of state spending for the next two years, to pass legislators’ muster.

Originally, almost two months ago, the House wanted some changes, primarily to ensure close scrutiny by the Legislative Auditor. The Edwards Administration admitted the benefits of such language and did not argue it could not add that with difficulty. But Edwards, looking to manufacture controversy that could aid his reelection campaign, dug in his heels and refused to do so.


Trending? Another GOP LA representative leaves

When Republican former state Rep. Chris Broadwater told the world he had quit his post to spend more time with his family, no doubt he meant it. But he also joined some lawmakers recently departed who may have lost their enthusiasm as they struggled with marginalized places in the House of Representatives.

Broadwater became the fifth ally of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards to jump ship prior to the end of his term since the inauguration. The group includes former state Reps. Bryan Adams and Joe Lopinto, both Republicans even through that party controls the chamber, and Democrats Jack Montoucet and Ed Price.

In the 2016 organizational session of the House, Adams and Lopinto crossed party lines, voting for Democrat state Rep. Walter Leger to be Speaker. Other Republicans still in the body who did so include state Reps. Bubba Chaney, Chris Hazel, Rogers Pope, and Rob Shadoin.