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White flags of cowardice waving at Louisiana Capitol

Lamar Parmentel:

Perhaps a false flag, but definitely a white flag.

Originally posted on Something Like the Truth:


By Robert Mann

It was a week for waving white flags. By the look of things at the Louisiana Capitol, you’d have thought Gov. Bobby Jindal and state legislators were debating in semaphore. If so, the words they spelled with their bright pennants were “surrender” and “cowardice.”

First on deck were members of the Senate Finance Committee. When the state’s top higher education adviser, Tom Layzell, showed up to testify Monday, he lamented Louisiana’s pitifully low college graduation rate. When he finished, the white flags began to flutter. Committee members — unwilling to support any serious reinvestment in the state’s colleges and universities — conceded their fecklessness.

“We’ve broken every piggy bank and trust [fund] that’s out there,” Sen. Fred Mills, R-New Iberia, complained, seeming to dismiss Layzell as a starry-eyed dreamer. Mills said he doubted there would be “any new funding coming to higher ed.” Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville…

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Deadbeat Jindal Leaves Louisiana Taxpayers With $1 Billion Budget Hole

Next year, as the magnolias come to bloom, Bobby Jindal will take his last lap of the Louisiana Legislature. Yes, the term-limited, part-time Governor will be busily boxing up the mansion in 2015. But while the luggage tags and boarding passes might be swept into the garbage can, the Governor’s budget mess will stick with taxpayers for years to come.

According to fiscal experts in the Legislative Fiscal Office, Jindal will leave Louisiana taxpayers with a massive $982.5 million budget chasm for the FY15-16 year (next year):

Legislators are especially concerned about a line in a report by the Legislative Fiscal Office. The office — staffed by financial experts — looked at the governor’s budget and concluded that “$982.5 (million) may require another source of revenue in FY 16.” In other words, nearly $1 billion in fiscal obligations could need a new funding source in a year’s time.

“It looks like all we’re doing is kicking the can down the road, and now it looks like the can might be getting bigger,” said state Rep. Eddie Lambert, R-Prairieville.

Let’s ignore this ridiculous sham of Jindal claiming to be a fiscal conservative. Let’s be clear: you can not be a fiscal conservative if you cannot balance a budget on year-to-year funds. Stop-gap funding measures are the essence of irresponsibility. It’s paying the credit card with another credit card. Irresponsible. 

But this is typical of Jindal’s callous disregard for Louisiana. He does not care about the state, at least when it comes to things that don’t advance his own career. He is ruthlessly disrespectful to the people of this state. And we’ll only know the full damage when he’s gone.

Cleaning Up John White’s Mess

Lamar Parmentel:

“LIKE A ROLLING STONE, I KEEP ROLLIN’ ON” – LA Super Johnny White

Originally posted on Crazy Crawfish's Blog:

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A hate-love relationship: Bobby Jindal and his special-interest lobbyists

Lamar Parmentel:

Lobbyists overboard one day, standing on his back the next! #DontStopBelieving in #Louisiana

Originally posted on Something Like the Truth:

By Robert Mann

Come with me back to the good old days, when Gov. Bobby Jindal was a fearless crusader against the special interests and the obscene tax credits negotiated by their dastardly lobbyists.

Let us travel all the way to March 19, 2013.

"Beleive in Louisiana" screen shot, April 2013

“Believe in Louisiana” screen shot, April 2013

Here’s what our modern-day St. George had to say in Houma as he pitched his erstwhile tax “reform” plan:

As it stands today, we have over 460 loopholes on the books that make our system complex, volatile and unfair. That’s why I want to overhaul our tax code by eliminating income taxes and getting rid of loopholes that allow powerful special interests to game the system.

Under the current system, if you have a lobbyist and lawyer, you have a loophole. Let me put that a different way.  In 2011, we actually went in the hole on corporate income…

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Gone in 30 days: DOA ignores regulation which requires three-year retention of all public records, including emails

Lamar Parmentel:

GOLD STANDARD FOR SECRECY!

Originally posted on Louisiana Voice:

News reporters from other states are quick to point out that Louisiana has one of the strongest public records laws in the country. A New York reporter, for example, was surprised to learn that LouisianaVoice was complaining about a month’s delay in obtaining public records from the Department of Education (DOE) and Division of Administration (DOA).

“I have an FOIA (Freedom of Information Act; the equivalent to Louisiana’s R.S. 44:1 et seq., better known as the Public Records Act) request that’s been pending up here for a year,” he said.

While it is encouraging to know we have one of the most liberal public records statutes in the nation, it may be a bit disheartening and frustrating to know that the law is only as strong as its enforcement.

To that end, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell office has simply punted, the rationale being that should there be litigation, he…

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Income Taxes More Popular Than Bobby Jindal

According to informed sources, (that’s everyone with a pulse), Bobby Jindals SIGNATURE TAX SCHEME is not going forward. The bill must

TAXES ARE DUMB. ERGO ELIMINATE THEM.

originate in the Louisiana House Ways and Means Committee, and that body’s Chairman Joel Robideaux put out this statement this morning:

“Over the last several months we have all grappled with the issues involved when considering the repeal of the income tax…I have reviewed the analysis of the policy community…my preference is that we should indefinitely defer consideration of these bills.”

CB Forgotston, who originated the dead-or-alive clock on the tax swap, isn’t convinced:

Big Biz Rejects Jindal Tax Plan

File this one under “OMG WTF LOL”.

LABI Head Honcho Dan Juneau

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, or LABI, is one of the gret stet’s most power lobbies. From the tactical end, they control 4 major PAC’s (Ingeniously named  NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, and…you guessed it, WEST) that allow them to direct at least $20k of contributions to any single candidate in any race. But more importantly, their political weight works behind the scenes to secure some of the most favorable anti-environmental, economically-regressive policies you can buy. This isn’t business. It’s crony capitalism. But we digress.

Anyway, LABI has been a big Jindal ally on some of his biggest gambits, including education “reform”, retirement reform, and health care privatization. On the Sales tax tip, however, they’re OUT like the slow kid in dodge ball:

Quite a few eyebrows raised in the business community recently when Governor Jindal’s Executive Counsel, Tim Barfield, responded to a question about winners and losers under the governor’s tax swap plan. Barfield, one of the managers of the issue for the governor, said that individuals would pay less and businesses would pay more.

By the time Mr. Barfield testified before the Ways and Means Committee on March 26, he estimated the impact at $500 million. That number is probably higher today than in 2011 and undoubtedly will go up significantly in the future.

A tax increase approaching a half-billion dollars levied on the business community at large definitely flies in the face of that principal goal of the organization for 2013.

LABI’s policy is clear: If the tax swap proposal is introduced as a net increase in business taxes or is amended during the legislative process to take that form, LABI will oppose it.

Swell. Bobby certainly should give these guys, his own teammates here on team “fuck the poor” a little deference, right? Nope:

The governor said the only people who like the current tax system are “lawyers, lobbyists and the people who benefit from loopholes.” He pointed to a study released Tuesday by two think tanks — the Pelican Institute for Public Policy and the Beacon Hill Institute — that concluded the tax proposal would generate an average of $910 in extra cash for the state’s households and create nearly 12,000 new jobs within four years.

This is good for Louisiana families and Louisiana businesses,” Jindal said.

Yessir, that’s what they call in baseball a “brush-back” pitch from the Governor.

Oh, and as usual, the oil boys got what they want and they’re cool. Preserve their egregious exemptions and they’re back to crushing Louisiana’s coast.

The Jindal administration also distributed a news release from the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association regarding an agreement on severance tax incentives and sales tax incentives affecting the oil and gas industry.

LOGA’s president, Don Briggs, said the administration pledged to keep the oil and gas natural gas service sector exempt from a state sales tax on services.

Federal Grand Jury investigation prompts Jindal to cancel controversial CNSI contract: but now who will be thrown under the bus?

Lamar Parmentel:

BUT WHO IS DRIVING THE BUS!

Originally posted on Louisiana Voice:

At the risk of sounding a bit smug, regular readers may remember that we had serious misgivings about that $194 million CNSI contract with the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) from the outset.

And so, it turns out, does the FBI.

And Gov. Bobby Jindal, much like another governor of some 2,000 years ago, thinks by washing his hands, he can absolve himself of any blame in the entire matter.

Let’s review.

In early June of 2011, DHH Secretary-designate Bruce Greenstein appeared before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee for his confirmation hearing and things quickly went south as Greenstein and Undersecretary Jerry Phillips became involved in the old irresistible force-immovable object standoff over the identity of the winning contractor to replace a 23-year-old computer system that adjudicated health care claims and case providers.

The contract is scheduled to go into effect in 2014 but that could change now.

Greenstein…

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Tigers For Jindal

Is this bumper sticker ironic yet?

As a former head of the University of Louisiana system, Bobby Jindal must know a thing or two about the way public higher education is run in the gret stet.

Unfortunately, this familiarity has not resulted in an increased respect or concern for the state of higher education. Each successive year, Jindal’s budgets have smashed higher education in the mouth, cutting what The Atlantic and the Center for Budget Policy Priorities say is over 42% from the State higher ed budget over the past 5 years. Louisiana has cut the 4th most, by percentage, of any state in the union.

The budget cuts would be bad enough, but Jindal has repeatedly acted as if this isn’t a problem, because (wouldn’t you know it) he can just tax the families and students that attend our public schools. And since many get Federal loans to do so, Jindal is, in essence, bleeding the Federal taxpayers for EVEN MORE MONEY.

But this is typically Jindal. He does the same with health care, transportation and other quiet Federal transfers and entitlements. Jindal would never accept Federal funds publicly. But he will work the system, like a devious drug-addict, to squeeze more Federal dollars into his unbalanced budget.

In the case of (Jindal’s appointed) Louisiana’s higher ed leaders, they might have enough:

For the sixth year in a row, Louisiana’s public colleges and universities are girding for a state budget that once again takes an ax to their funding. Regents say they must brace for $209 million in cuts that are included in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budget proposal for the coming year and both higher education officials and legislators say they are equally concerned about the governor’s desire to use one-time money to prop up the state’s outlay.

Overall, about two-thirds of the $773.5 million the state has budgeted for higher education will come from nonrecurring revenue, such as proceeds from the future sales of public property. Some of that money has yet to materialize and perhaps never will, angering conservative lawmakers who oppose the use of such fiscal maneuvers and worrying university administrators who are trying to put together reliable spending plans for their campuses.

Meanwhile, the Jindal administration is suggesting that universities raise tuition, and that doing so would mean funding would remain the same as it was after mid-year cuts enacted in December.

According to Jindal’s $24.7 billion budget proposal, the state outlay for higher education in the fiscal year starting July 1 would draw $284.5 million from the state’s general fund, plus $489 million from sources that will be available only once, or expected collections that may not be as much as predicted.

And the kicker:

“All units (of higher education) will be at risk for reduction should any of these funds not materialize,” according to a  report from the state Board of Regents, which coordinates all public higher education in Louisiana.

This crisis in higher ed is getting worse. And it isn’t just about the money. Jindal’s running LSU, our flagship university, into the ground. Bob Mann explains why here. LSU’s new president (after Jindal fired the old one, and many others, for complaining about budget cuts) was just foisted upon the school without any public consideration. The LSU Faculty Senate declared that they have no confidence in the Board of Supervisors. Lovely.

The sounds of thousands of razors scraping bumper stickers off of bumpers should be heard all over Louisiana.

Louisiana Budget Project: Eliminating Income Taxes Will Hurt the State

The Louisiana Budget Project breaks down the meat of the Governor’s Sales Tax Swap proposal:

Eliminating Louisiana’s Income Taxes Will Hurt the State’s Economy

By David Gray 

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to eliminate Louisiana’s corporate and personal income taxes relies on a fundamentally flawed economic analysis and is likely to hurt the state’s economy, not boost it as supporters claim. Proponents of the governor’s proposal are relying on a report called “Rich States, Poor States” to sell their plan to the public. But the report contains numerous distortions and omissions:

LBP Logo

  • While it claims that 62 percent of net U.S. job growth between 2002 and 2012 occurred in nine states with no income taxes, it fails to note that just one of those states, Texas, accounted for most of that job growth. The remaining eight states did not significantly differ from the rest of the country in job creation.
  • The report fails to mention that Texas’ performance is largely due to factors unrelated to taxes, like its abundance of natural resources and geographic location along the trade-rich Mexican border.
  • States with income taxes that are higher than Louisiana’s perform better on several important economic and quality-of-life indicators than their no-income-tax counterparts. For example, those states have greater median household incomes, higher household disposable incomes and more widespread health insurance coverage –none of which should be true if taxes were a primary factor in economic activity and well-being.
  • State income taxes play a negligible role in business location and hiring decisions. Doing away with them will simply drain more resources from schools, health care, public safety and the other foundations of a strong economy, which are much more important to businesses looking to expand or relocate. The vast majority of the governor’s tax plan would benefit less than 2 percent of Louisiana’s companies, according to an analysis of tax information published by the Louisiana Department of Revenue. The overwhelming majority of small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs are unlikely to experience any tax savings. The windfall for those that do see savings is likely to be too small to allow more hiring or investments. In any case, there is no evidence that businesses add jobs because of income tax cuts. Furthermore, substantially increased sales taxes – which the governor would use to recoup revenue losses under his plan – are likely to reduce demand for goods, which would reduce production. Instead of eliminating income taxes and levying the highest sales taxes in the nation, the task for Louisiana’s elected officials is to seek ways to raise revenues beyond current levels and invest in public services like education, health care, transportation and public safety. These investments have a far greater potential to build the state’s economy and improve prosperity and well-being than the proposed income tax breaks.

There’s much more where that comes from in the LBP report. This is the link. Read it…

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