Search This Blog


Edwards plays budget politics, blames Barras

The Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards Administration continues to play politics with Louisiana’s budgeting.

This concerns the ongoing refusal by Republican House of Representatives Speaker Taylor Barras to approve of a new revenue forecast. One of the four members of the Revenue Estimating Conference, which needs all members’ assent to make an official prediction for budgeting purposes, four times now in the past three months Barras or his stand-in have refused to boost that.

Barras has based his refusal on the disappointing performance of oil prices and the inherent inaccuracies that past forecasts have demonstrated. The federal government has lowered its estimate of West Texas Intermediate crude oil for 2019 to around $54 a barrel for most of the year, which would translate into a somewhat lower price over the state’s fiscal year than the REC most recently has figured.


Others cancel while LA wastes on bullet trains

Same old story: as the world moves forward, Louisiana stays stuck in the past.

This week, two high-profile high-speed rail projects became largely sidetracked. California pulled back on most of its overly-ambitious, severely-underfunded plan to have bullet trains running from San Francisco to San Diego. Scrapping the $77 billion price tag that some argued still underestimated costs, it now foresees completion only of segment between the booming metropolises of Bakersfield and Merced, and hopes money will rain from the federal government and private sector to finish the rest in the indeterminate future.

But the state shouldn’t hold its breath on investment dollars, a similar event in Florida shows. There, a firm with a short haul line between Miami and West Palm Beach with hopes to expand to Orlando and Tampa yet again postponed receiving another round of financing, eschewing an initial public offering over skepticism the project would turn a profit any time soon. It already is light years ahead of the California project in that it already owns much of the infrastructure involved, but still at this point can’t see enough of a draw to entice investors.


LA bishops must deliver maximal transparency

Louisiana’s dioceses shouldn’t cop out when it comes to examining sins of the past, given the credibility crisis faced by Roman Catholic Church leaders all the way to the top.

Last year, each of the state’s prince of the Church pledged to remit, at a bare minimum, lists of names of clergy with credible accusations against them of sexual abuse. Since then, most have produced such a document.

Unfortunately, some have done a worse job than others. All should have emulated the model set by the Most Rev. Michael Duca, Bishop of Baton Rouge. He made public dates of birth, dates of ordination, pastoral assignments, dates of allegations, dates of disposition, and – in most cases – the number of victims that each clergy member is alleged to have molested and where the abuse occurred. He also pledges to keep adding to the list as greater verifiable evidence emerges.


Recent events make Bossier tax tough sell

Now may not be the greatest time for the Bossier Parish School District to ask voters to increase taxes on themselves.

Last month, the School Board voted to put on the May 4 ballot a measure that would jack up property taxes by over 26 mils, in two separate votes. One would add $7,200 to every teacher’s yearly pay, and the other would jack up salaries for ancillary employees by $3,000 annually.

Then-superintendent Scott Smith argued area districts could offer more in salary, despite other remunerative avenues where Bossier could compete. In fact, while Bossier base teacher pay ranks 45th statewide according to the latest data (academic year 2016), problematically all districts surrounding Bossier pay much better (largely courtesy of oil and gas royalties): Caddo ranks 17th, DeSoto 1st, Red River 2nd, Bienville 6th, and Webster 7th.