Search This Blog


LA has means to avoid virus ventilator crisis

A ventilator crisis may loom for Louisiana, but it is manageable with a bit of forethought.

This device aids, if not entirely performs, breathing for individuals. A few people (like, for over 17 years, my wife) live with them permanently, but now demand for these has surged with the Wuhan coronavirus invasion. In fact, according to Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, within two weeks the state health region (One) serving Orleans Parish will exhaust its supply of this equipment.

Keep in mind that Region One is not just the epicenter of the virus infection for Louisiana, but vying for that sad designation in the entire country. Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard Parishes had 65 percent of the state’s cases as of today, and the region’s incidence rate of under one in every 600 residents nationally trails only the New York City area. The Orleans rate of 1:393 is slightly higher than New York City’s, but New York’s Nassau County’s is a bit higher and Westchester’s unbelievably is more than twice as high.


Virus-caused LA budget cuts looking more likely

So, what are Louisianan’s options as the economic impact of the Wuhan coronavirus continues to linger?

It all starts with the Revenue Estimating Conference, which last year made forecasts for fiscal year 2021 that the Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards Administration wanted to bump up two months ago. Leery (presciently) of the state’s economic health, Republican leaders of the Legislature didn’t want to commit to a $100 million or so boost and no change occurred.

Chances are, with the price of oil more than halved in just weeks, taxes on sales, income, and gambling likely to feel ongoing effects from what appears to be a month-long economic moratorium, and the decline in investments that will force the state to commit more current revenues to shore up its unfunded accrued liabilities, that supposed surplus more than has disappeared. This means cuts for FY 2021, unless bringing into play the Budget Stabilization Fund.


Edwards risks tossing baby out with bathwater

There’s no “nuance” in Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ dictionary, but “fear” is a word prominently displayed when it comes to the current pandemic.

Sunday, Edwards issued another proclamation regarding the advance of the Wuhan coronavirus in Louisiana. This one now limits gatherings to ten and closed additional businesses, allowing open only grocery stores, pharmacies, medical facilities, factories, transportation hubs, and critical infrastructure, although a social distancing limit is asked to be observed. People also are advised not to leave homes unless to shop for groceries, seek medical supplies or care, or go to work if part of the businesses not closed or not involved with public interaction.

The announcement he made to accompany that highlighted the per capita incidence and rate of growth of cases in Louisiana. As of Sunday morning, the state had the third highest per capita infection rate of the states, trailing only the epicenter Washington and hard-hit New York. It also in its first 13 days since the initial reported infection had the most severe growth rate of any country or state, with a current trend well above the average.


In LA, sport of kings perhaps laid fatal blow

Almost the only live sport to remain over the past couple of weeks since professional leagues and college associations cancelled their remaining seasons has been horse racing. Unfortunately, despite its prevalence in Louisiana, it won’t help the looming budget crisis to come and the fallout may put the industry closer to extinction in the state.

With voluntary slowdowns and a succession of proclamations by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, a sizable portion of economic activity within the state’s borders has come to a halt. Combine that with downturns in the oil and equity markets, and the recipe for a budget shortfall for this year plus carryover into next fiscal year’s if not a matter of if, but how much.

Suspension of athletic events contributes to this, in the form of taxes gathered on lost ticket and concession sales, as well as income taxes forgone from athletes not receiving pay (both residents and non-residents). However, horse racing kept on, with New Orleans’ Fair Grounds continuing its thoroughbred meet and Bossier City’s Louisiana Downs its quarter horse meet. They did so, after the Edwards bans on more than 250 (later lowered to 50) people gathering, by barring spectators.