As Louisiana political leaders assert
they’ll come up with a quickie budget in case they have to move fast, they
must recognize the other shoe will drop with lagging state revenues.
Yesterday, the Legislature’s Republican leadership
described efforts to put together a contingency package, sparked by fears if Wuhan
coronavirus could continue for some time to radiate as rapidly as it has then
the Legislature would have to shut down. Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards joined
them in that assessment. The state has to have its several budgets complete for
next fiscal year by Jun. 30.
But they have to recognize that to rely even on
existing official revenue forecasts likely overestimates the money the state
will have available for the next 12 months starting Jul. 1. The Edwards
an attempt to create estimates $103 million higher in the general fund as
part of $285 million more in spending, backed by other increases in sources of
revenues such as dedications. However, GOP leaders argued for a much lower
number, which Edwards’ Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne
Right analysis, wrong agent.
month ago, I wrote that Louisiana Democrats wouldn’t have any real
influence over their party’s presidential nomination. With so many delegates elsewhere
to be decided by the first Saturday in April – a position dictated because the
holiday and elections calendar conflicted – the history of a nominee decided by
then made it highly likely to neuter Democrats’ votes for this contest.
But I had the wrong guy. At the time, it appeared independent
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had the
path necessary to win. His closest ideological competitor Democrat
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth
Warren had performed well below expectations and seemed an obvious choice
to depart the contest. Meanwhile, party establishment favorite Democrat former
Vice Pres. Joe Biden flagged in the polls
as he threw off gaffe after gaffe and Democrats’ recent attempt to impeach and
remove Republican Pres. Donald Trump shone
more unfavorable light on Biden’s activities in office, and independent former
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg appeared poised to convert a lot of
campaign cash into primary votes, splitting opposition to Sanders.
There goes not only the supposed budgetary surplus
for this and the upcoming fiscal year, but also a fake accomplishment Democrat
Gov. John Bel Edwards
alleged throughout his reelection campaign last year.
At the last meeting of the Revenue Estimating
Conference, Edwards’ representative Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne
all hot and bothered when House Speaker Republican Clay Schexnayder
rejected his desire to have the panel declare that the state had $170 million more
for this fiscal year and $103 million for the approaching one. The speaker argued
for, respectively, lower and dramatically lower figures, saying they should keep
in the forecast.”
Dardenne objected to this that he called a
politicization of REC forecasting – despite the process set up to induce
political judgment into its decision-making – and voted to prevent the lower
forecasts favored by Schexnayder and GOP Senate Pres. Page Cortez from becoming official. By
doing so, he ended up keeping even more conservative in the official
prediction, which remained unchanged from last year. And that has turned out to
be a good thing.
Carnival krewes can chunk
what many see as racist throws, and there’s not a thing Louisiana or any of
its municipalities can do to stop it.
Democrat state Sen. Troy Carter made
news when he introduced SB 261, which
would ban the tossing of “hate-related objects” during a parade or
demonstration, that he called inspired by the story of young boy catching a
throw featuring a caricature of a black man holding a watermelon with a noose
around his neck. It proposes heavy fines and prison time for the thrower, although
if not identifiable then fining the organization.
It’s a publicity stunt, because such a law violates
the U.S. Constitution in many ways, starting with basic free speech rights. If
someone wants to go around spouting racist themes by print, speech/broadcast,
or, in this instance, symbol, you’re free to do so. And, naturally, what is a “hate-related”
object, which the bill doesn’t define?