Search This Blog


Unfunded mandate hits NWLA residents hardest

Concerning water issues, not only do Shreveport and Bossier City residents have to worry about the fiscal health of their city-run water utilities, but also many now must face an unfunded mandate in the hundreds of dollars annually despite the best efforts of the state senator who represents both cities, an issue that may impact elections this fall.

This week, the Louisiana Department of Health issued grades to water systems through 2022. Using an extensive rubric, all in the state received a score from 0 to 100 (technically 110, as bonus points were awarded to those systems with an asset management plan). Shreveport didn’t fare that well, scoring only 75. It lost half of the 10 points available for fiscal sustainability, all 20 for infrastructure, and all 10 for customer satisfaction (a point off for each valid complaint about the system water quality or quantity). Without the bonus for the plan, it would have scored among the bottom 15 percent of systems in the state.

Its deficiencies don’t surprise. Woefully behind on fixing long-identified shortcomings that led to a consent decree with the federal government about a decade ago, the city remains hundreds of millions of dollars away from finishing required repairs within the next four years, so far behind partially because elected officials hesitated in raising water and waste fees due to the political unpopularity of that response.


Panel follows science in protecting children

All the ignorance, fibbing, and emoting doesn’t change the facts that make Republican state Rep. Gabe Firment’s HB 463 worth enacting, if not vitally so, into law.

The bill would prohibit any procedure that physically or hormonally changes the sexual physiology of a minor, except in the very rare instances of disorder of sex development or dealing with the consequences of previous attempts to change sex. Science unimpeachably supports the proposition behind the bill that these permanent alterations to children almost always cause more harm than good, and out of an abundance of caution under the watchful waiting protocol typically practiced in Europe that plays out to allow for developing physical, mental, and maturity until adulthood for those who at some point believe they want to try to change their sex, this protects children from rash decision-making by them and others affecting their adolescent lives.

Unfortunately, this area of investigation suffers from a plague of poor research quality. Common problems of these studies feature unrepresentative samples, lack of adequate controls, and unjustified inferential leaps. The efforts that do the best in avoiding these pitfalls shatter common myths circulated by advocates of making permanent physical changes to children who at some point identify as transgender.


Conservatives leverage LA into better budget

It’s a great first step, but the Louisiana Legislature can do a whole lot better when it comes to a responsible fiscal year 2024 budget and use of surplus dollars over the last couple of years.

This week, the state’s general operations budget HB 1 kicked off its journey to the consternation of free spenders. Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and his partisan followers in the Legislature – and not a few Republicans including chamber leaders – had grandiose ideas about the using the bonus bucks mainly on infrastructure and larding out all sorts of new commitments, such as pay raises for educators and local public safety personnel, in this year’s spending plan.

But to accomplish that, the state would have to bust its spending cap by several hundred million dollars, a move opposed by the Louisiana Conservative Caucus that is comprised of most House Republicans as well as the Louisiana Freedom Caucus, which likely overlaps in membership considerably with the Conservative Caucus. These legislators argue that the surplus money (past the constitutional mandates for its use) primarily should go to paying down unfunded accrued liabilities in the state’s retirement systems, which not only would avert breaching the cap but also would relieve local governments from having to pay excess contributions into the state systems for defeasance of the UAL constitutionally mandated by 2029 that would free up money for other uses such as raising salaries.


Fewer weeks unemployment paid better for LA

Taking the first steps to challenge Governor Nyet’s agenda of bloated, redistributionist government, Louisiana’s legislative Republican supermajorities look primed to start the party a year early in right-sizing state government.

This week, on nearly party-line votes, each chamber in the Legislature passed bills that could leave more money in the hands of the people. In the Senate, bills by GOP state Sen. Bret Allain have moved out of committee which collectively would phase out corporate income and franchise taxes and get rid of the inventory tax credit that would keep over $600 million in the people’s wallets over the next five years. Four years after that, during which annual net revenue decreases in the dozens of millions of dollars will occur, the lasting annual impact thenceforth is predicted as a $324 million reduction.

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards can’t veto the phase-out of the inventory tax as it must take the form of a constitutional amendment, but he could try to attenuate savings elsewhere with vetoes of the other two measures. If all Republicans in both chambers stick together in voting for any veto attempt, they will frustrate him.