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Edwards admits bad SNAP policy defeated

The adults intervened, handing Louisiana Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards a humiliating defeat on food stamps policy.

Last week, Edwards acknowledged this by sheepishly retracting Executive Order JBE 16-12 with JBE 20-5. This came in response to the finalization of federal government rules regarding the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program that essentially forcibly restored changes Edwards had made to eligibility requirements not long after taking office.

His predecessor, joining the majority of states, just before leaving office had let expire waivers the state had regarding SNAP. Ordinarily, under the old (and illegal) federal rules a state could ask for a blanket waiver of program requirements that able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWD) work, train for work, or volunteer in order to qualify to receive this benefit more than three months out of every three years.


Cynical LA Democrats trying to stop tort reform

As a Louisiana liberal steeped in the state’s populist tradition, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards knows the best way to stop something that makes sense with a lot of momentum against his special interest allies is to demagogue it to death.

He registered full-throated illustration of this among his otherwise reheated comments this week to the media. Largely replaying his inauguration remarks that put forth an agenda going nowhere, he also introduced a new element addressing likely the hottest issue of the legislative regular session starting next week: tort reform of case law involving vehicles.

With the public increasingly tired of Louisiana’s extraordinarily high rates – second for passenger vehicles – Republicans have presented an impressive package of bills that builds upon best practices for lower rates in other states, incorporating many items they have offered in the past. The compelling nature of these bills plus the overwhelming GOP majorities in both chambers means these bills will pass.


NE LA school district consolidation needed

Northeast Louisiana may become ground zero for an educational experiment without parallel in Louisiana history: rather than looking to have a district separate, such as what happened with Ouachita Parish and Monroe City schools, districts may end up combining to a certain extent.

Last year, the Louisiana Legislature asked the Department of Education to review the deteriorating financial situation in many school districts. Particularly rural districts have fought stagnant if not declining populations, which dampen business activity and tax revenues, in the face of ever-increasing costs.

The report, released last month, noted that about a third of all districts faced fiscal pressure. Six in particular – Union, Morehouse, East Carroll, Tensas, Madison, and Catahoula the document identified at elevated risk. Together, these hosted 26 traditional public schools with around 9,200 students in the fall. Their 2018 financial reports (only up-to-date Catahoula has released its 2019 audit) excluding Catahoula show together their net positions deteriorated by $48 million from 2017 (Catahoula eked out a tiny gain from 2018 to 2019).


Edwards ITEP changes solve nothing

It’s what Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards does best – says he’ll change something to make Louisiana less inhibitive of economic growth, only to produce a cosmetic result that does nothing substantive.

Until now, his best-known sleight-of-hand in this regard concerns the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. He abandoned the requirement of his predecessor that able-bodied adults without dependents receiving it work, train for work, or volunteer, and replaced that with meaningless executive order that changed nothing about that while alleging it accomplished much the same thing as he had discarded. Fortunately, over these next few months SNAP rules changes by the Republican Pres. Donald Trump Administration essentially will cancel Edwards’ intervention and put the state back in the posture prior to his arrival.

Last month, Edwards may have topped that. During his first term, he changed the rules of the Industrial Tax Exemption Program on a couple of occasions. This property tax break for major capital expenditures offset the confiscatory local levies on corporations, but had no local input. His new rules basically gave a veto power to major local entities, which disconcerted businesses who complained conditions sought by local governments to grant the credit could make the activities in question economically unviable and thereby would discourage investment.