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GOP on the brink of preventing LA regression

The endgame has arrived, and Louisiana’s state Republicans have the advantage over Democrats and their leader Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Tuesday the Senate advanced HB 1, which contains almost $500 million fewer than Edwards wishes to spend. Today, it achieved House concurrence and goes to him for his signature. He hopes to add to those expenditures in a special session set to begin next week by engineering tax increases.

However, with passage of this budget Edwards has lost almost all of the leverage he has to grow state government permanently in the overtime session. This leaves him with a choice of vetoing that spending plan or not.

The Press-Herald column, May 16, 2018

The battle that never ends



Edwards pretends having control of budget

The only “pretend” associated with the Louisiana Senate moving a fiscal year 2019 budget to completion is the thought that Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards has any significant control over the process.

Last week, the Senate Finance Committee dealt with, and passed out, HB 1 by state Rep. Cameron Henry. The state’s general appropriations budget for next year as it came from the House contained noteworthy cuts to a largely standstill budget, about two thirds coming from Medicaid programs and about a quarter from the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students. These represented, respectively, about five and ten percent of each’s spending.

Edwards didn’t want to see any such action. All along, his strategy sought to pass no budget during the regular session, then in a special session increase taxes permanently mostly on income and weighed against corporations and write the budget according to that. If a budget emerges, he must sign it or else he becomes known as the guy who created chaos despite all his election promises to fix what he said ailed state government.


Posturing outrage distracts from real issues

He may be rude, crude, and boorish, but that doesn’t mean he’s entirely wrong.

State Rep. Kenny Havard made news yet again in a way perhaps he wished he hadn’t. A couple of years ago, he garnered infamy when his chamber considered a bill on sex trafficking with one provision raising the age limit for exotic dancing to 21. Supposedly as satire, he offered an amendment to raise this to 28 and to add a weight requirement.

This drew deserved approbation, but the reaction mattered more. It smacked of hypocrisy that legislators, led by a handful on the distaff side, would castigate him for implying the acceptability of objectifying women, yet politicians famously try to make themselves appear as attractive as possible precisely because that wins votes in an environment plagued with low information voters.