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No one wins, viewers lose in LA gov debate

Republicans challenging Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards performed better in a debate broadcast on Louisiana Public Broadcasting stations, and as a result they didn’t end up the biggest losers.

Each gubernatorial candidate had a job to do, which changed somewhat for the GOP contestants since last week’s initial foray. While Edwards still had to deflect and distract from a disappointing record, with Eddie Rispone closing in on Rep. Ralph Abraham, both Republicans now had to show they made a better contrast with Edwards.

That can happen two ways, not incongruent with each other: attack each other’s past and policies and/or attack Edwards’ record. Rispone did a bit of attacking Abraham, while Abraham got some shots in on Edwards. Meanwhile, even as Edwards didn’t get quite as free of a ride as he did the last time, his tactic of disingenuous statements, if not outright lies, largely went without challenge.


LA gov race runoff likely; winner uncertain

Polls, polls, and more polls: what to make of the latest batch the Louisiana governor’s race? That the contest will head to a runoff with a Republican-to-be-named-later challenging Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards but, if one pollster has anticipated turnout correctly, gives an edge to the incumbent.

Prior to the first statewide televised debate last week, a consortium of stations airing it conducted a poll. Early this week, the same pollster released one on behalf of an interest group representing health insurers that might be expected to favor Edwards. Not long afterwards, another put out a survey on behalf of contender Republican Rep. Ralph Abraham.

In a nutshell, in these Edwards received 41 to 47 percent of the intended vote; Abraham got 20 to 24 percent, Republican Eddie Rispone bagged 16 to 22 percent; and minor candidates Democrat Omar Danztler and independent Gary Landrieu corralled 2 to 3 percent (their names were missing as choices in the television station poll).


Historic surpluses prompt new rationalizations

Since justification 1.0 didn’t work, big government advocates in Louisiana have latched on to justifications 2.0 and beyond to keep taking more money than necessary from the people.

In arguing for sales tax increases, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards broke a campaign promise not to raise any taxes, but said he had to ask because he didn’t know things were that bad when he took office – despite that he had served as his party’s chamber leader and voted for the majority of budgets that he relentlessly criticized. Thus, he justified (version 1.0) increasing taxes as needed to resolve budgetary shortfalls. As it turns out, maybe things weren’t as bad off as to need the largest tax increases in state history.

That’s because, when all was said and done, revenues came in $122 million higher for fiscal year 2017 and $308 million higher in FY 2018. The one percent sales tax increase, assisted by smaller ones on tobacco and alcohol and from reductions and eliminations of other tax credits, brought in an estimated $1.761 billion over those two years. Upon its expiration, over objections from most legislative Republicans, 0.45 cents were retained for FY 2019-25, which should have generated $463 million this year.


Just say no to all 2019 LA amendments

One interest group calls this year’s batch of Louisiana constitutional amendments “challenging.” Not really – vote against all.

The Public Affairs Research Council released its guide for the 2019 lineup, giving voters a resource to vet what it accurately calls “arcane” measures. Perhaps as an indicator of this, the one applying only to New Orleans the mayor of which Democrat LaToya Cantrell has deemed so in need of explication – from her perspective, of course – that she has embarked upon a statewide tour to encourage its passage.

No. Let’s go in reverse order:


Perkins ploy backfires, reduces his standing

Shreveport’s Democrat mayor Adrian Perkins just can’t escape transparency questions – even when he thinks he tries.

After a turbulent first few months in office that saw several questions arise over his handling of financial and personnel matters, Perkins may have thought he have hit upon an uncontroversial method of selecting a new police chief. During the previous administration, former chief Alan Crump resigned and Ben Raymond became interim chief, with the job opening up officially after Crump used his accumulate leave well into this year.

According to the city charter, the mayor appoints and the City Council must approve of this officer, who then serves until a mandatory retirement age with good behavior as under state law the position is considered classified with civil service protections. Past mayors made the pick themselves without any formally-designated process of community input.