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Report reminds of group's leftist ideology

In case you’ve forgotten, a recent announcement by the Louisiana League of Women Voters reminds that the organization that claims nonpartisanship nonetheless marches in lockstep with Democrats of the progressive stripe.

Last week, the group at its annual convention released a report noting that charter schools potentially sap education dollars from traditional public schools, calling for changes in charter school board composition and transparency, and wanting greater state stringency in regulating such schools. In effect, the increased, unneeded regulatory details that would follow would hamper the ability of these schools to operate as intended. This adheres to a liberal agenda of protecting the one-size-fits-all model of education that empowers special interests over children.

Not that the study’s quality commends policy-makers to pursue such recommendations. Both the organization that represents the state’s charter schools and the state Department of Education panned the effort, each observing it to relay numerous corrections to the drafters of an early version and subsequently received no feedback. The report’s lead author herself has spoken often and publicly against the concept.

Neither should this kind of issue preference surprise. The LWV, at both the national and state levels, has a long history or aligning itself with the political left. The state organization almost half a century ago argued for the moribund Equal Right Amendment, and over a quarter-century ago its president, who ran an abortion mill, publicly opposed strict state regulations of abortion.

While its lengthy current statement of public policy positions contains items that do reflect generally nonpartisan exhortations, a number also scream fealty to a liberal agenda – some blatantly, some more obscurely. For example, it gives full-throated support to the (Un)Affordable Care Act and its Medicaid expansion component, and promotes the most extremist view of abortion on demand. Less obvious examples but still tilting leftward, it calls for full funding of Louisiana’s ailing pension reserves but won’t endorse changes from a defined benefit to a defined contribution system, and it throws around words such as “equity” and “fairness” in regards to tax policy, yet rejects a flat income tax and wants income taxation as opposed to (ironically, the most equitable and fairest method) sales taxation to comprise a larger share of raising revenues.

That it joins itself at the hip with Democrat leaders becomes clear when reviewing the tax increase stumped for by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards. In 2016, when Edwards went full bore for income tax increases, the state organization proclaimed its support for that in favor of lawmakers rejecting sales tax increases. But by 2018, when Edwards had to fight to reinstitute part of the expiring sales tax put through in 2016 that the LWV initially had opposed, or else reduce spending, the LWV president wrote defending maintaining the sales tax instead of facing cuts.

In order to keep its Internal Revenue Service nonprofit status, the organization cannot endorse political candidates, and in doing so trumpets its “nonpartisan” label as itf that should give the group’s preferences added weight. Don’t be fooled. “Nonpartisan” doesn’t equal “objective” or “unbiased,” neither of which the LWV is. As such, any policy recommendations it makes informed observers must take with a grain of salt, critically reviewing the assumptions and data behind these. Regrettably, in both past and present on many issues they likely will find the invalid assumptions and selective or incomplete data that are the hallmarks of liberal policy preferences.

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