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Shreveport surrenders at bad time for Perkins

In a great endorsement for Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins’ U.S. Senate campaign, Shreveport politicians declared surrender.

Earlier this week, a Shreveport City Council committee virtually committed to increasing fees or taxes to boost public safety salaries. The city’s police department currently runs dozens of officers below what it considers optimal numbers and firefighter salaries are significantly lower than what some other area departments pay.

Below-par staffing adds to a litany of problems facing Shreveport under the watch of Perkins, although many of these predate his arrival by years. Its estimated population has plunged six percent from the last census in 2010. Caddo Parish, of which the city comprises about four-fifths in population, has seen microscopic 4.1 percent economic growth in the same period, well below the rate of inflation. Violent crime, which in this span has seen a small decrease nationally, increased in Shreveport. All sorts of rankings in the past couple of years of the metropolitan area, which is majority Shreveport but also includes typically Bossier, Webster, Red River, and De Soto Parishes, place it dismally, from “best places to live” (122/125), in “happiness” (172/182), to safety (148/182), and is the worst of 182 in where to start a career.


Hack Edwards forgoes leadership on voting

Little Johnny Bel didn’t like the rules, so he took his ball and went home. Then he gave it to the neighborhood bullies and told them to go try to make everybody play by his rules or else the other kids wouldn’t get to play at all.

One could point to many instances in his time as governor where Democrat John Bel Edwards put partisan power elite desires ahead of the needs of the people, abdicating any responsibility he had as a leader. But he topped them all with his recent statement opposing reasonable proposed election rules modifications.

Earlier this week, Republican Sec. of State Kyle Ardoin, as permitted by statute, pitched these changes for the November and December elections in Louisiana. Using the latest evidence-based data to shape these, he called for a modest extension of early voting and of acceptable reasons to request an absentee ballot. He demonstrated that his office could oversee elections that offered low risk of Wuhan coronavirus transmission, that existing request options largely covered those affected by the virus, and that while the state could handle some expansion of ballot reception by mail, the existing elections infrastructure and Postal Service limitations likely would produce an outcome that would moot the counting of too many such ballots.


Edwards again chooses big govt over taxpayers

With his boss Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards caught out again on a brazen political mistake, Louisiana Commissioner of Distraction Jay Dardenne tried to do his thing again.

During June’s special session that resolved the state’s operating budget, despite knowledge of the impending economic dislocation courtesy of Edwards proclamations shutting down large portions of the state’s economy as a response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, Edwards and Dardenne presented a budget that shrank government not one bit. This discouraged the Republican majority Legislature from resisting, and it acquiesced in expanding government at a time that revenues demonstrably would shrink.

But the GOP-led chambers didn’t completely abdicate. One measure they imposed to rein in unnecessary spending prohibited appropriation of $57 million to fund programmed pay raises for state civil service employees. These occur automatically annually unless the State Civil Service Commission acts to mitigate these. Legislators said that they couldn’t see their way to using extra taxpayer resources on this when almost none of these employees had experienced job loss or furloughs while a significant portion of nongovernment sector employees had, with that held back money more usefully applied to relief for nongovernment workers.


Ardoin presents improved election plan for fall

Louisiana Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin not only came up with an excellent emergency election plan for fall exercises of the franchise, but also in doing so he took the wind out of the sails for a group of malcontents.

Statute allows the secretary to make adjustment to election rules in an emergency situation, with a proposal authorized by appropriate legislative committees and the governor, followed by plan production approved by the same and each legislative chamber. This procedure brought forth a plan that made significant change to the just-concluded postponed spring local government elections.

Remarkably, despite the evidence at the time of its formation that the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic would be much reduced, the environment actually was approximately as bad at the times of the elections because of Louisiana’s unprecedented and unique bimodal distribution of infections, so the plan actually had some utility. Regrettably, that plan had problems, chiefly in that it allowed too much leeway for voting by mail – which creates opportunities for unscrupulous individuals to marking their ballots in voters’ stead (and then add insult to injury by signing as the witness) – and allowed registration without verification of identity.


Tax election highlights need for engagement

Bossier City elected officials put one over on taxpayers. Let’s see if enough of them care to punish Republican Mayor Lo Walker and its seven City Council members next spring.

Last weekend, voters approved better than two-to-one a continuation of an existing 6 mill levy for public safety operations plus an increase of 0.19 mills, for the 2021-30 period. The increase matched the current rate paid, which was above the rate previously authorized by voters because of a constitutional loophole that allowed the city twice to raise rates beyond that because of a one-year devaluation of assessed property values in the city.

If at all taxpayer friendly, when in subsequent years values resumed their upward march, elected officials would have rolled back rates to the maximum voters had permitted. Instead, they kept the extra, and received validation for that sleight-of-hand in this election.