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Edwards delivers for Perkins, his agenda

Invited by the Shreveport City Council faction backing Democrat Mayor Adrian Perkins to appoint a fill-in to their liking, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards obliged, reshaping the course of city government and boosting his ally Perkinsflagging chances at reelection next year.

When GOP former Councilor James Flurry, almost always a Perkins opponent, resigned his City Council District E last month, the generally anti-Perkins bloc of Republicans Grayson Boucher and John Nickelson and Democrat LeVette Fuller lost its majority. With just three of six seated voted, earlier this month on a tie vote it failed to put its preferred candidate into the seat of the Republican-leaning district.

This tossed the decision to Edwards, who wasn’t crass enough to tab a Democrat, but who did pluck a campaign contributor in tune with the other Council Democrats – Jerry Bowman, James Green, and Tabatha Taylor. No party Alan Jackson got his official nod just before yesterday’s Council meeting and in doing so Edwards provided a bit of irony if not outright hypocrisy: after deeming important having two minority-majority congressional districts in Louisiana because of the state’s racial proportions in population, Edwards picked a black man to represent a majority white district.


Cash benefit increases sustainability uncertain

Decisions regarding cash assistance to low-income families with dependent children by the Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards Administration have put Louisiana on the hook for new spending commitments in the tens of millions of dollars that may not be sustainable.

Recently, the state’s Department of Children and Family Services announced it essentially would double cash benefits paid for the two programs associated with the federal Temporary Aid to Needy Families program. In Louisiana, DCFS issues TANF benefits through the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program and Kinship Care Subsidy Program. The former awards money to low-income households that nominally work or prepare for working, while the latter provides cash to household where the head is not a parent but a reasonably close relative.

Until the end of the year, Louisiana will pay one of the lowest FITAP rates in the country, although it is not far below the southern average. Starting in 2022, that rate will jump to the highest in the region and well above that average, settling in around the national average, which for a family of three is $484 monthly. In part, this will offset the relatively low proportion of the total TANF funds the state receives, $163 million in the last year, going to cash assistance, around $13 million, compared to other states; Louisiana spends a much higher proportion on programs and subsidies directly related to child welfare.


LA finances must dodge viewpoint discrimination

Louisiana needs to extend the wisdom expressed by its State Bond Commission to other state administrative financial aspects, as other states have commenced doing.

Years ago, and recently reaffirmed, the SBC’s majority vowed that the panel, which decides how bond sales takes place at all level of government, would not permit lenders to participate in state borrowing who discriminated against businesses legally operating under Second Amendment protections. It has yet to address applying the same to financiers who discriminate against lending to businesses that don’t adhere to a certain viewpoint in their activities, such as producing fossil fuels when that lender has said it will reject loans to businesses related to that activity, but the SBC should.

As the head of the panel, Republican Treas. John Schroder can lead the charge. That would dovetail nicely with a related effort of his regarding investing state dollars; the treasurer oversees over $6.5 billion in over 30 state funds. Led by West Virginia, this coalition with Louisiana and 13 other states pledges to “scrutinize or potentially curtail future business” with banks that have policies against financing for the coal, oil, and gas sectors. “Corporate agendas that attack our oil and gas industry, which has been so vital to our state, must be called out…I will stand with other financial officers to fight against these job-killing policies that harm our economy,” he said.


Christmas Day, 2021

This column publishes every Monday through Friday around noon U.S. Central Time (maybe even after sundown on busy days, or maybe before noon if things work out, or even sometimes on the weekend if there's big news) except whenever a significant national holiday falls on the Monday through Friday associated with the otherwise-usual publication on the previous day (unless it is Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Independence Day, Christmas, or New Year's Day when it is the day on which the holiday is observed by the U.S. government). In my opinion, in addition to these are also Memorial Day and Veterans' Day.

With Saturday, Dec. 25 being Christmas Day, I invite you to explore this link.