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Other Edwards zero delusion to impoverish LA

Besides his delusional zero COVID fantasy, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards presses on with another pipe dream – Louisiana’s future energy production featuring zero carbon emissions that doesn’t cause significant hardship.

This week, Edwards announced that the state would join the United Nations’ “Race to Zero” campaign, as part of the organization’s Framework Convention on Climate Change. This dovetails with his executive order designed to drive the state to zero emissions by 2050 that also set up a task force to find ways to do that, whose report should arrive early next year.

Forget for the moment that the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming scenario on which Edwards has based all of this is scientific hogwash and concentrate instead on how ruinous the costs will be to achieve this, especially when compared with the consequences of the mythical apocalyptic scenario currently shopped around, and that even if zero emissions were achieved today everywhere (according to the CAGW methodology) that wouldn’t even reach the target for slowing the presumed rate of warming by the end of the century. In fact, not only no policy to achieve this does not create more impoverishment, but these choices also disproportionately hit poorer people harder.


Overleveraged BC must cut costs, bid services

Especially given the amount of these Bossier City has outstanding, it makes sense to shop for the best bonding deals – unless you’re Republican City Councilor David Montgomery.

The city’s highly leveraged position turned into an issue of incumbent competence during this spring’s city elections. At almost $487 million or $6,827 per capita, of Louisiana’s ten largest cities (some of which operate under consolidated governments with the surrounding parish), Bossier City citizens owe the most per head (using 2019 data, as some have yet to file their legally-required audits for 2020). Shreveport trails by over $1,500, and only Baton Rouge’s Metropolitan Government also cracks the $4,000 level (for 2020, Bossier City’s fell to $6,561).

Worse, according to revenues available, Bossier City will come under pressure to pay it all off. Its debt-to-annual revenue ratio is 3.14, just exceeding East Baton Rouge but trailing its neighbor to the west at 3.85. The higher the ratio, the less money the city will have available to pay operating expenses in future years, thus tempting tax increases (whether by individual debt authority renewal or rolling forward property tax rates) to cope.


New flood insurance rules overall benefit LA

Although some of Louisiana’s members of Congress oppose the implementation of National Flood Insurance Program reform at this time, it’s happened and, if rolled out properly, will reduce overall taxpayer risk and bring comparative rate relief to many clients.

Since its most recent significant alteration nearly a half-century ago, the NFIP has proven a fiscal nightmare. Only property owners with a federal government-backed mortgage legally in zones defined as particularly flood-prone must have it, with it over time having received $60 billion premiums but paying out $96 billion. Further, because of data and technology abilities in that era, policy pricing didn’t reflect individual properties but instead followed a crude blanket approach that itself tended to underestimate risk in higher-risk areas and overestimate it elsewhere, which effectively meant lower-risk properties subsidized higher-risk ones.

Another factor also historically skewed pricing: federal government willingness to pass one-off disaster aid legislation to reimburse owners wracked by flooding, such as the bill last week that addressed a host of recent disasters to hit Louisiana and some other states. And yet one other has allowed for pricing that doesn’t properly account for risk: the willingness of Congress simply to write off NFIP debt as it did in 2017 and has proposed doing again. Both serve to make some taxpayers subsidize the living choices of others by assuming part of the latter’s risk.


LA treating condemned better than children

Worse than sad, it’s shameful that Louisiana treats its condemned inmates better than its children in school.

The past 18 months have brought unique problems for education of the state’s children, with draconian measures taken at first in response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. After closing doors everywhere at the end of the spring 2020 semester, in some districts these would remain shut for the entire 2020-21 school year. Even where classrooms reopened, policies such as quarantining if a child had been anywhere close to someone who came down with the virus remained in effect.

This segregation took a noticeable toll. Comparing test scores with 2019, those of 2021 dropped nearly five percent, largely driven by increased pervasiveness of remote instruction in the interim.


Rare LA positive leadership needs extension

In a break from the usual news about how Louisiana trails other states in sensible policy-making, it’s nice to see the state lead on at least one issue.

Taking effect last month, a law in Texas mirrors the administrative decision made by Louisiana’s State Bond Commission in 2018. The law requires that underwriters for bond sales by government entities in the state comply with a non-discrimination clause relative to gun manufacturers: an underwriter who has a policy of refusing lending to that industry can’t bid on underwriting government debt.

The SBC voted on such a restriction at a time when two such discriminating entities, Bank of America and Citigroup, planned to bid on $600 million in state business. Since then, JPMorgan has proclaimed a similar discriminatory policy.