Brooklyn has voted: New Orleans is over! As the state gears up for its March 5 presidential primary, New Orleanians march for Bernie Sanders, Gov. John Bel Edwards dumps on Bobby Jindal, abortion rights have virtually disappeared, and the state budget is the contents of my couch. Also this week: A rare #NOLAscanner hat trick.
As president my first act will be banning articles where New Orleans is compared to Brooklyn— Kaitlin Marone 2016 (@immerspaetlin) February 27, 2016
A common refrain among some lawmakers in Baton Rouge these days is that we should “look forward” and stop blaming former Gov. Bobby Jindal for Louisiana’s unprecedented fiscal crisis. If those lawmakers were to read the latest annual report by the Legislative Auditor, they’d change their tune.
According to the auditor, the Jindal Administration failed to timely file the vast majority of statutorily required reports on more than $1 billion a year in tax incentive giveaways for fiscal years 2013 and 2014.
“We found that three of the six agencies that administer tax incentives submitted reports as of March 23, 2015. As a result, the Legislature only received information on five of the 79 tax incentives administered by these agencies,” the auditor’s report states on page 17.
“In addition, of the 79 tax incentive reports agencies were required to submit to the Legislature by March 1, 2014, 70 (89%) either were not submitted or did not comply with all of the reporting requirements. According to the Department of Revenue’s Tax Exemption Budgets, the revenue loss from tax incentives claimed in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 for which agencies provided no information or did not comply with reporting requirements totaled approximately $1.1 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively.”
You read that correctly: $1.1 billion for fiscal year 2013 and $1.3 billion for fiscal year 2014.
There’s our budget deficit right there, folks.
After a jumbo-sized Mardi Gras Y@ Speak, we're trimming down for the sobering post-Carnival reality of the state's economic Code Red — appropriate for Valentine's Day. Zuck, care to help?
Student: I got a 4.0 and a 31 on the ACT— lemmeborrow$20 (@tyeelurr) February 12, 2016
TOPS: New phone, who dis?
Here’s a riddle for you: What’s more ridiculous than Bobby Jindal’s campaign for president? Answer: Bobby Jindal’s “Farewell Tour” of Louisiana, now playing in a half-filled auditorium near you.
The notion of Jindal doing a farewell tour of the state he has ignored for most of the past eight years is beyond preposterous. It’s beyond Orwellian, even for a master of doublespeak like Jindal.
Truth is Jindal bade farewell to Louisiana long ago. He traded our future for his delusional ambitions when he convinced himself he could be taken seriously as a presidential candidate.
As a result, he focused his attention on Des Moines rather than on Des Allemands. He courted crowds in Davenport when he should have kept clinics open in Shreveport. He hustled voters in Newton when he should have helped families in New Orleans.
A friend of mine told me this anecdote about six weeks before the Oct. 24 primary: Months ago, when U.S. Sen. David Vitter was still pretending to care what people thought of him, he asked former Gov. Mike Foster to identify his (Vitter’s) biggest weakness as a candidate for governor. Foster responded, “David, people just don’t like you.”
Leave it to Paw-Paw to tell it like it is.
Several months and millions of dollars later, Louisiana voters gave Vitter the same answer.
As a result, the guy who seemed inevitable last May proved to be unelectable in November — so much so that he announced his political retirement during his concession speech. Vitter lost in a landslide to state Rep. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat from Amite, who decided to run in 2013 while on a fishing trip with his legislative seatmate and close friend, state Rep. Sam Jones, a Democrat from Franklin, which, coincidentally, is also Mike Foster’s hometown.
The end of the David Vitter Era coincided with the end of the Bobby Jindal Era. How ironic that Louisiana’s two leading Republicans, who cannot stand one another, both bowed out within days of each other.
Which brings us to our recap of the political carnage in the wake of Louisiana’s statewide elections, known for more than 30 years as Da Winnas and Da Loozas. For the uninitiated, I focus not on the names that appeared on the ballot but rather on the players and forces that shaped the campaign and its aftermath. For them, the election results mean four years of either exhilaration or exile. Let’s get on with it, starting with …
1. Teacher Unions — After eight years in exile, teacher unions (and all unions) finally have a governor again. Edwards made it clear shortly after his victory that he won’t dismantle charter schools or vouchers, but he will help public employee unions survive the existential threat posed by so-called “paycheck protection” legislation, which would outlaw union dues check-offs. He also will put real money back into public education.
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