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Dumbfounded Donahue Flubs Script, But Restores Disability Funding

Yesterday, to the shock of many, the Senate Finance flippantly moved $4.5m in funding for disabled folks to a private auto track. Apparently, your outrage seemed to work, as the fund transfer was partially “cured”, although you’d be wrong to think that meant the millionaire wasn’t getting his $4.5m in free track improvements.

Not this Legislature. Not this State.

Instead, the Senate retained the little bonus for Laney Chouest’s NOLA Motorsports track, but instead made sure they found the extra money to make it up to the disabled folks.

You get to have your pie and eat it too!

Apparently, Senator Donahue, he of  “The answer to your question, Sen. Claitor, is yes,” fame, had a lot of trouble reading the Jindal Administration script on the budget today in the chamber. Keen eyed observer CBForgotston was watching:

The Senate easily adopted the budget with nary a word of protest! It’s all good, says Emperor Jindal.

Who knows what other fun little giveaways lurk in the dark matter of the Legislative Budget.

Where’s Your Tea Party Now?

The Louisiana Legislature is poised to take $4 million of your tax dollars away from supporting disabled Louisianians in order to give it to a corporate indycar event at a private racetrack owned by a multi-millionaire. That is not spin:

We’re taking money away from the disabled community and giving it to motor sports?” Claitor asked during the committee meeting.

The answer to your question, Sen. Claitor, is yes,” said Sen. Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, the committee’s chairman, in response.

Outrageous

After the meeting, Donahue said he was optimistic that more money could be found for services for people with disabilities as the budget advances through the legislative process. Money had to be put toward IndyCar, he said, because Jindal had promised $4.5 million in upgrades to NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale as part of the deal to lure the event to New Orleans.

NOLA Motorsports is owned by Laney Chouest, a multi-millionaire co-owner of Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO). He seems like a fine enough chap, one devoted to building a world class racetrack. Now, of course, he’s done it with his own fortune. Good for him. He even opened it to the public, so normal folks could go racing or go-karting around his prize.

But the idea that we need to pay for $4m in “track improvements” to “lure” a billion-dollar national racing league to New Orleans for a race almost no one cars about, INSTEAD of patching our meager budget for the disabled, is absolutely sick. Just because Jindal “promised” the billionaire owners he’d scoop some tax dollars up for them. Absolutely sick.

This combines the worst of crony-capitalism with the height of heartless Ayn Randism. Government giving money to a massive corporation for a playboy, rich-man’s sport instead of taking care of the disabled. This is your government. This is what they’re doing with your hard-earned dollars they collected in taxes. Blowing it on a private racetrack. You betcha.

Where is your tea party now?

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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