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Voucher series misses context, completeness

Louisiana’s media would do well to steer clear of the mistakes made in a recent series of articles about the Louisiana Scholarship Program that did little to inform comprehensively the public.

Several outlets produced print and broadcast stories about the LSP, which provides vouchers to low-income students in lower-performing schools to attend a private school. This year, an estimated nearly 7,000 families took advantage of this, at a cost of around $42 million.

The pieces focused on a theme that the program had come up short in aiding students in struggling public schools. These pointed out that many clients ended up at schools rating just as poorly as the ones they left. Also, compared to peers at the schools they left if anything they performed worse. Finally, the series contained critical remarks about procedures used to qualify a nonpublic school, arguing these demanded too little and served to prop up financially some schools that have high proportions of voucher students enrolled.


Edwards may need Alario to thwart reform

There’s more than one way to skin a cat, as Louisiana’s legislative Republicans showed on a controversial matter. But one of their own might employ the same to thwart them.

Yesterday, the House Insurance Committee had a light schedule of just two bills. One, SB 173 by Republican state Sen. Fred Mills, has generated much conflict. It regulates the state’s response in case the U.S Supreme Court declares unconstitutional part or all of the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards actually opposed it, setting off skirmishes that continued in yesterday’s hearing where an administration representative softened that stance with the bill’s passage.

Those fireworks only set the stage for an unexpected conflagration. SB 212 by GOP state Sen. Conrad Appel would have created some temporary reporting requirements for insurers about commercial vehicles. It easily passed through the Senate. The room mostly had cleared and Republican state Rep. Thomas Carmody handled the bill and spoke about it.


Edwards can't win with sales tax cut bill

Even his Senate allies can’t help Louisiana’s Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards from taking a hit on his tax-and-spend record going into a tough reelection battle.

That comes courtesy of HB 599 by Republican state Rep. Lance Harris, which next fiscal year would begin paring away a 0.45 percent sales tax increase Edwards backed initially as part of a larger increase in 2016, then renewed in 2018 at the present level for seven more years. That costs consumers an extra $392 million annually.

The bill should hit the floor of the House this week and go to the Senate’s Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee the week after. There, it will die, because even though Republicans outnumber Democrats nearly two-to-one in the Senate, Edwards teamed with his bootlicker GOP Sen. Pres. John Alario to stack that panel with a majority of Democrats, who will act to ensure the measure never forces Edwards to veto it.


Gatti, Milkovich betrayals perhaps last straw

The latest prank by northwest Louisiana’s Katzenjammer Kids, Republican state Sen. Ryan Gatti and Democrat state Sen. John Milkovich, may be the one that costs them their seats.

In many ways, the two differ only in party affiliation. Both narrowly defeated sitting representatives by pledging social conservatism and criticizing their opponents for tax increases, then launched their careers by supporting a tax-and-spend agenda in their first year in the Senate. Both try too hard to define themselves as social conservatives, with Milkovich espousing fringe ideas rejected by most conservatives and Gatti backing religious liberty policies that most conservatives think would backfire to erode that.

This overcompensation comes as a result of their center-left fiscal policy preferences. Through 2018, according to the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry’s legislative scorecard that focuses on government taxing and spending issues Gatti with a lifetime score of 52 has the third-lowest figure for Republicans while Milkovich at 41 has the third-highest among Democrats.


Perkins explaining inadequately, opaquely

The more Democrat Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins explains, the more trouble he finds himself in.

Already buffeted by a false savings claim he made on an insider city contracting deal and an apparently illegal attempt to change the city’s panel overseeing aviation, Perkins now finds himself exposed on a deal to charge the city for transition team expenses. Meanwhile, a nonprofit that doesn’t have to disclose donors formed by his campaign manager seemingly reluctantly pays bills.

Perkins initially wanted the city to cough up around $47,000 for a string of transition-team related expenses utilizing the city’s convention center. While Shreveport did reimburse the nonprofit, called Future of Shreveport, about $7,000 for expenses related to Perkins’ inauguration ceremony, the City Council has balked on providing the remainder.