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Polling news still unkind for Edwards

If Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards doesn’t have a general sinking feeling, he’s not paying attention.

A poll unconnected to any Louisiana gubernatorial campaign released earlier this week put him at 38 percent of the three-way vote for reelection Oct. 12, facing Republicans Rep. Ralph Abraham, who scored 23 percent, and businessman Eddie Rispone, who took in 7 percent. A subsequent pair of runoff questions had him drawing 40-36 over Abraham and 41-28 over Rispone, with the remainder undecided.

These numbers aren’t good for Edwards. An incumbent who has a good chance of winning pulls at least 45 percent of the vote in any given poll; one who doesn’t reach 40 percent is in serious trouble. This phenomenon reflects that undecided voters largely either don’t vote at all or break for challengers. Other indicators also point to trouble ahead for Edwards.


Perkins promises openness while dissembling

If this is what “stubbed our toe” looks like, I’d hate to see a full-scale accident.

That phrase Democrat Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins used to describe his handling of the city’s insurance renewal. Actions he took over the first four months of his administration led to, by his own description, city taxpayers in 2018 paying $550,000 for $815 million in single-occurrence insurance while in 2019 they forked over $900,000 for $300 million worth.

However, he begged for the people’s patience on this matter. “We're gonna make some stumbles. We are a new administration. But the key part about that is we're gonna learn from them and be better going forward,” he explained to a local radio station.


LA House GOP rewriting education spending

It seems Louisiana’s House Republicans have turned things up a notch to improve the state’s dismal elementary and secondary education.

In the quest to fund this for fiscal year 2020, to date the Senate has backed the rare alliance of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and legislative Democrats with the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, controlled by Republicans. The Minimum Foundation Program continuing resolutions express their preference, not just a pay raise for educators of $1,000 and support staff of $500 yearly but also a 1.375 percent increase for other aspects of education.

The MFP formula sets a benchmark that the Legislature must accept or reject. If it rejects, the last-approved version applies. That means approval of this formula locks in the raises and extra spending until any future BESE wants to change that. If not approved, then no raises would occur through the MFP, even though most legislators regardless of party have expressed a desire to see that occur in an election year.


LA political journalism roiled by big merger

Well, scratch that.

When the Baton Rouge Advocate decided to pursue a paywall strategy, this created a significant ripple in the Louisiana political journalism landscape. Its decision to buy the entity that owns the New Orleans Times-Picayune induces a tsunami.

An independent T-P looked to gain much from the paywall choice. As the last major newspaper standing in the state without one, it would have benefitted from the flow away from The Advocate. Keep in mind what the research says about paywalls: they act to capture revenue not from the online market, but by shoring up offline subscriptions for people wanting local news. Thus, those wanting something else, like statewide political news, would go to other sources.


Voters punish Bossier schools leadership

That two tax propositions got crushed in Bossier Parish tells us multiple factors caused such a stinging defeat.

The two measures featured in Louisiana local elections this past weekend, along with next-door Caddo renewing a property tax to underwrite bonds for school facilities, an Orleans Parish item that rededicated and redistributed existing property taxes among city and nonprofit recreation facilities, and one that in Jefferson Parish added a new property tax for educator salaries. Those all passed handily almost three-to-one, the exact opposite of the items in Bossier.

However, the Jefferson increase paled in comparison to the one for pay in Bossier, being about a third as large (the ones in Caddo and Orleans were of similar size). The Bossier request of nearly 24 mills would have increase school property taxes by 40 percent and would have made those paid by Bossierites 16 percent higher than the next highest in the state, top-ranked Zachary Community (Bossier Parish schools, by contrast, barely crack the top 20 in performance).