Search This Blog


On cash benefit, LA GOP legislators sell out

It’s going to take more than just a big election cycle win for conservative voters to steer Louisiana government from its liberal populist pathology, a recent struggle over welfare spending shows.

It always starts the same way. Something unusual, such as the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, occurs that leftist interests seize upon to leverage into government action and new expenditures. Then after a point it’s declared the new benefit needs to be made permanent, and conservative policy-makers too often capitulate.

Liberals understand fully that a substantial proportion of the public suffers from addiction to government largesse, that once the benefits start flowing many want hit after hit without end. One of the Leninist foundations on which today’s political left is built is the principle that what is its is its forever, while whatever policy space its opponents occupy is always up for grabs.


Ruling to reinstate LA 2022 congressional map

Barring a legal miracle, Louisiana’s congressional elections this fall will occur with only one majority-minority district using the 2022 map.

That’s the implication of the Louisiana Western District three-judge panel’s decision in Callais v. Landry handed down earlier this week. In a 2-1 decision – with the two Republican former Pres. Donald Trump district judge appointees under the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals doubling up on Democrat former Pres. Bill Clinton-appointed Appellate Judge Carl Stewart – the court ruled the map enacted earlier this year violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and enjoined its use That map came about only because the 2022 plan was enjoined preliminarily by a Middle District judge with plaintiffs presumed to prevail on the question of declaring that map in violation of the Voting Rights Act.

The panel majority took the offered layup when the Louisiana Legislature in special session produced a map with an M/M district stretching from Shreveport to Baton Rouge and Lafayette, splitting them all and dismembering Alexandria along the way. At five points it hung together by only a single precinct, and at one point it forced another district to be one precinct wide squeezed on the other side by Texas. It was a district not even its legislative progenitors would admit had any actual commonality other than it had to be M/M.


Budget boosts teacher merit pay possibilities

All of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Republican Gov. Jeff Landry Administration, and the Louisiana House of Representatives not only have acted prudently with education spending this year, but they also laid the foundation for improved educational delivery.

HB 1 by GOP state Rep. Jack McFarland, the operating budget, passed unanimously. It actually didn’t change much from last year’s, with marginal changes in a few areas of policy where few expenditures changes proportionally more than trivially from the previous year, and with almost every exception being relatively small absolute amounts. That was good in that next year a temporary 0.45 percent sales tax, on the books since 2016, finally will disappear, meaning now was not the time for significantly greater spending.

The area with the biggest change was elementary and secondary education, which will see an overall decrease in spending, but that is due to vanishing federal pandemic-related funds as well as (for the moment) reduced Recovery School District demands. Those aside, the actual amount falls about $25 million from last year, even though the Minimum Foundation Program goes $71 million higher. That happens because while the student count is about a half percent lower and the base $4,015 per pupil amount remains the same, the per pupil amount for mandated costs, or an inflationary factor for insurance, fuel, and pensions, jumped from $100 (last set in 2009) to $122, and supplemental additions in attracting and retaining teachers and class offerings also moved higher. The three single areas moving the highest were accelerated tutoring ($30 million), differential compensation ($25 million), and mandated costs ($14.3 million).


St. George win isolated, but might make waves

A big victory in self-governance last week might result in ancillary gains for citizens elsewhere in Louisiana, aided by meritorious pending legislation.

The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the city of St. George can come into existence. Almost a decade ago, residents of the southern part of East Baton Rouge Parish, disgruntled with a city-parish government that they saw taking too many tax dollars out and providing too few meaningful services, began efforts to incorporate. The saga had many twists and turns: an initial petitioning effort to put the matter on the ballot failing by fewer than six dozen signatures after some questionable vetting by the parish registrar of voters, a second successful petition despite annexation gamesmanship leading to an election in favor of incorporation marked by all sorts of distortions levied by parish government officials, a legal challenge chock full of bogus claims that required a four-year judicial journey, and then final vindication.

City-parish officials – the parish’s now five cities operate under a consolidated form of government with parish government save for the four constitutional parish offices – fought tooth-and nail because separation by a municipality of its size (around 86,000) significantly diminished their political power, principally from the loss of tax revenues that acted as a considerable net subsidy to principally Baton Rouge’s operations. The suit against St. George rested on a state law that essentially said the new city had to have a realistic financial chance to operate and that it didn’t have an “adverse” impact on other governments as part of a larger investigation into the “reasonableness” of the move.