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Shreveport looks to compound wage hike mistake

Shreveport’s City Council next week will conclude its 2022 budget debate, where the question isn’t whether to deplete its reserves, but whether recklessly so in order to raise how many employees’ pay, including boosting minimum wages to over twice the legal limit.

Last week, the four Democrats and two Republicans (the seventh member still as-yet undetermined after a resignation last month) agreed that no city employee should receive less than $13 an hour. This meant hiking the lowest grade’s starting pay by about $1.70 per hour, but then salary compression would set in, meaning other grades would have to see increases as well. The plan eventually adopted would apply to 750 workers and cost just over $1 million a year.

Those funds were worked into the budget. However, that it seems wasn’t enough for some councilors. Councilors Republicans Grayson Boucher and John Nickelson plus Democrat LeVette Fuller wanted a 13 percent pay raise for police and fire employees, whose compensation operates in a different system which Resolution 149 didn’t affect. They tried to insert this into Ordinance 154, the operating budget, as an amendment.


Fatigue present in Edwards map, virus actions

As he turns the quarter pole down the homestretch of his gubernatorial tenure, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards continues to come to grips with his constrained diminishing power that inches him towards cipher status when it comes to policy-making.

Leftists both in Louisiana and across the land surely perked up when last week Edwards commented about the looming special session for reapportionment. Republicans who control the Legislature are in the process of scheduling this at the crack of February.

In an elaboration of past comments alluding to “fair” redistricting for Congress, Edwards got liberals’ hearts fluttering when he said, “Fairness, if it can be done, would be to have two out of the six congressional district be minority districts.” Since the state has nearly one-third black population, by the numbers that theoretically wouldn’t pose problems.


Report signals how LA can improve elections

While it’s good to see Louisiana near the top of a list of states for a change, it doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, in this instance for election integrity.

The Heritage Foundation recently vetted the states on this issue, compiling a scorecard that reviewed 36 areas related to it and weighing these by importance, with the most importance at 6 points being photo identification for in-person voting. In aggregate, Louisiana scored 75/100, or seventh best.

This good relative placement prompted Republican Sec. of State Kyle Ardoin to applaud his staff and the 64 registrar offices. But before he breaks his arm patting himself and others on the back, the real value of the exercise with the state coming up a quarter short lies in showing where Louisiana can improve, something he can lead along with legislators.


NO ups ante on abusive child vax requirements

It’s as if after seeing the state of Louisiana embark on state-sponsored child abuse, New Orleans decided it should up the ante. Hopefully, legal action may thwart both.

Last week, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards overrode a House of Representatives panel to allow bureaucrats in the Department of Health to add vaccines for the Wuhan coronavirus to the immunization schedule for all levels of schooling. It would take effect for the 2022-23 school year, although parents may opt children in elementary and secondary education out of this, and at present it would apply only to those 16 and older, although this could change to essentially all ages by then depending upon federal government full authorization for vaccine use at younger ages.

This requirement makes little scientific sense. Vaccines don’t stop transmission, so they don’t protect others from getting the virus. Further, the vaccines themselves have a limited range of effectiveness, both in duration and in coverage of ever-mutating strains, unlike any other immunization on the schedule which lasts far longer and almost perfectly suppress the underlying malady. In essence, this virus behaves like its relative influenza, only slightly more lethally to children, yet no one ever has proposed adding flu shots to the schedule.


BC must pare debt that smothered its growth

While it looks as if the move to issue $30 million in debt to fund a recreation center in north Bossier City has withered, that shouldn’t bring debate over city borrowing to a halt.

In early December, the Council witnessed a two-front offensive to bring about this project. At that meeting, members unknown asked for the Northwest Louisiana YMCA to pitch for the building that the Y would run – despite uncertain demand and that city residents not only would end up footing the bill for the building but also would have to pay hundreds of dollars a year to use it except by participating in a select few city programs.

Following that, members unknown also asked for representatives of agencies the city works with for bond issuance (the ones for work “we don’t bid”) to give their opinions about the city’s debt load. The latest authorization of $75 million combined with scheduled paying down outstanding debt in 2021 puts the available debt load at around $535 million, or over $8,500 per resident, by far the highest of any medium or large city in Louisiana.