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Edwards photo blunder making him unelectable

Hammer another nail into the political coffin of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards, of the self-inflicted variety.

If Edwards seeks another elected office outside of his home Tangipahoa Parish, his opposition will have a field day with a photograph taken of him last month at the Baton Rouge Country Club. In it, he leans over in an outdoor dining terrace to converse, clearly within six feet of people. And he’s not wearing a mask.

For months, while other governors have eschewed this requirement attendant to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, Edwards has ordered utilizing face coverings both indoors and outdoors in public venues, in additional to asking for people to keep their distance from each other in public, backed by rules limiting business capacity. Then he appears hypocritically breaking his own rules, suggesting he doesn’t have to follow these – rules that have led to closing a number of Louisiana businesses, some permanently, and putting hundreds of thousands of Louisianans out of work and many into poverty.


Local transport subsidizing robbing LA roads

I’ll take up the offer made by Republican state Rep. Jack McFarland, and show him why he needs to abandon his sponsorship of a bill to raise the gas tax.

McFarland recently announced he would front this effort, at this point backed by the Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards Administration and special interests associated with those who would benefit monetarily from motorists paying more at the pump, construction contractors. He has presented only nebulous details to date, stating that he wishes to outline broad parameters to generate discussion before introducing the final product for the 2021 Regular Session of the Legislature.

Basically, as currently envisioned, the bill would increase the gas tax from the 20 cents a gallon the state currently now to 30 cents in its first year followed by two cents increases every other year to account for inflation until 42 cents are reached in 2033. It also would cap current Department of Transportation and Development spending and divert 4 cents of the existing 16-cent general tax along with the new tax dollars into a sub-fund dedicated by voters solely for construction and preservation of roads and bridges. Additionally, it would charge a new $400 annual fee at registration for electric vehicles while hybrid vehicles would pay $200.


On virus, too many LA schools stuck on stupid

At least a number of Louisiana policy-makers, some later to the party than others, are choosing not to stay stuck on stupid when dealing with the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, school superintendents asked both Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to revise their rules regarding schools and the virus. They question the BESE decision that students exposed to another student who tests positive for the virus must then stay away from school for 14 days. In many, but not in all cases, they can access online learning in the interim.

Joining the plea made to the House of Representatives Health and Welfare Committee by several district leaders, state Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley argued later that the state should adopt the procedures used by Missouri, where only students who are sick or test positive must isolate, as long as all students in close contact were wearing masks – which Louisiana schools require. Brumley agreed with several district superintendents that learning outcomes suffer the fewer in-person classroom days a child has.


Husband's tax sin may transfer to wife's bid

Especially now might not be the right time for Republican state Rep. Jack McFarland to go all in on foisting a gas tax hike onto Louisianans.

McFarland has said next spring he will carry a bill sought by contractors and by supporters not particularly interest in efficient use of tax dollars to accomplish just this, citing a large backlog of transportation projects. Already politicians and interest groups have lined up against the concept, which constitutionally faces an uphill battle in need of two-thirds majorities in each legislative chamber that has or is close to having a GOP supermajority (although apparently blessed by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards).

That this will face considerable opposition makes McFarland’s insertion inopportune – or, perhaps another way of looking at it, makes his wife Shelly’s nascent political career more inconvenient. With a vacancy early next year opening up on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon notice of this she threw her hat into the ring for that.


Bossier voters must reject property tax hike

Bossier Parish is trying to do what Bossier City did. Parish voters should turn it down.

The parish’s electorate is being asked to renew, with a rate increase, the 10-year property tax dedicated to funding correctional activities that expires at the end of 2021. This funds the substance abuse/reentry, medium security, and maximum security facilities operated by the parish sheriff.

Originally, voters authorized 3.00 mills for the task, which baseline should raise a bit over $3 million annually for operation. Because of the vagaries of the state’s required quadrennial reassessment – before this year’s last occurring at a time when property values had decreased – the maximum allowed levy rose to 3.14, although most recently taxpayers were hit up for 3.08.