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Report can't hide negative expansion impact

Another year, another swing-and-miss. But in this election year, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards needs all the propaganda talking points he can get.

Last week, the Louisiana Department of Health released the next iteration of its claim that Medicaid expansion brought the state pecuniary benefits. It alleges that the move by Edwards in early 2016 since has produced 14,000 jobs and for fiscal year 2018 $84 million in state tax receipts, and $61 million in local tax receipts.

This built upon last year’s substantially flawed effort and, as the Pelican Institute’s Chris Jacobs noted, did manage to correct some of its previous shortcomings. Still, Jacobs observed, problems remained that likely overstate these presumed benefits. Most disturbing among these, the new edition apparently fails to incorporate the impact of wholesale shift from private insurance to expanded Medicaid, estimated at a bare minimum as a third of the expansion population and far above the estimate LDH publicly propagates. Jacobs also faults the authors for a lack of transparency in their failure to explain seemingly odd conclusions, such as their jobs created estimate fell by around 5,000 even though overall spending year-over-year increased. (He could have added wonderment that the supposed extra tax receipts fell from the FY 17 estimate of $103 million at the state level and $75 million at the local level.)


Wrong ethos sinks out-of-touch LA master plan

If it’s not the old adage that generals always are preparing to fight the last war that summarizes the latest Louisiana higher education master plan, it’s Pogo’s prescription that we have met the enemy, and they are us.

After nearly two decades, the Louisiana Board of Regents released an updated master plan. Titled “Louisiana Prospers: Driving Our Talent Imperative,” it pleads for more money in order to “Educate, Innovate, and Collaborate” with a goal of more than doubling the number of working adults in Louisiana with meaningful, market-relevant postsecondary credentials by 2030, or a figure of 60 percent of that cohort.

It’s a tall lift. Only 44.2 percent of the group currently has a college degree or certificate, below the national average of 47.2 percent. Hitting the mark would require churning out 45,000 more completers a year through 2030 – substantially more than the 40,000 annually at present and is a number greater than the students currently in elementary and secondary education who would be eligible to attend college. In short, this means having some non-completers of the past finish up and inducing other adults into higher education, where presently Louisiana has among all states the second lowest proportion (4.5 percent) of the 25-49 age cohort attending college.


Cowardly Edwards surrenders on SNAP policy

At least through election season, observers of Louisiana’s governor’s race can play “spot the hidden out-of-touch policy” by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Unvarnished and unhidden, Edwards is a solid liberal, well to the left on economic policy (although with national Democrats running amok and towards an electoral cliff, in the context of his party he seems almost revanchist) somewhat balanced by moderate views on select social issues. Such candidates if correctly perceived by the elected don’t win statewide elections in Louisiana.

So, since the end of the legislative session, it’s all been an exercise of obscuring from the state’s center-right public the leftist policy preferences of Edwards. Most obviously, he touts the elimination of mid-year budget deficits – which he accomplished through historically-high temporary tax increases that he swore during his previous campaign that he wouldn’t implement to fix the problem permanently that he didn’t, that now produce surpluses which prove his tax increases are too high. Of course, he doesn’t mention in his campaign communication the last part comprising of two broken promises in a failed attempt that succeeded only in growing government almost twice the rate of inflation.


Implementation cancels voting law's bad effect

If you champion an electorate that makes a minimal effort to cast an informed vote and recoil at one easily manipulated by politicians, thank Louisiana’s Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin.

In 2018, the state unwisely changed the law regarding the ability of felons to vote, permitting them the franchise five years after sentencing if not imprisoned (as long as the felony didn’t relate to elections) as opposed to sentence completion. Not including provisions of a redemptive nature missed a chance to discourage marginally serious crime and to encourage rehabilitation.

Potentially, the law could have given a nontrivial advantage to Democrats. Simply, blacks disproportionately commit felonies, who also register decisively as Democrats, and sampling infers that in the felon population as a whole its members register disproportionately as Democrats compared to the general population. Thus, the party’s candidates could benefit.


Weak Bossier GOP gives away winnable seat

And this is what happens in the state with the weakest political parties in the major parish with the weakest political parties.

Republicans look to have lost out on a likely win when first a retired district judge, then the Second Circuit Court of Appeals – minus a few judges – affirmed that white Republican Jason Brown didn’t qualify as a resident of Bossier Parish Police Jury District 9. This leaves the election in the hands of black Democrat Charles Lee Gray, who along with another black Democrat and a white Republican brought the challenge that will kick Brown off the ballot. He does have the option to appeal to the Supreme Court, but a reversal seems unlikely.

Gray challenged longtime incumbent Republican Freddy Shewmake in 2015 but received only 40 percent of the vote when the district had a registration of 53 percent white and 23 percent Republican. This election, the district slipped to a 48 percent white plurality while the GOP proportion held. Shewmake bowed out this year in a district becoming harder to hold by, but certainly not difficult for, a Republican, and Brown would have been favored to win.