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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.