Economy

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Legislature tries to hash out solutions to $304M state budget shortfall

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 6:05 PM

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told the Finance Committee consideration is being given to funding alternatives, but that Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is pursuing its original proposal.
  • Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told the Finance Committee consideration is being given to funding alternatives, but that Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is pursuing its original proposal.
The Senate Finance Committee Tuesday moved forward with a resolution, primarily for the benefit of their wavering House colleagues, that would employ $119 million of the rainy day fund as part of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ budget proposal to close a $304 revenue shortfall.

House Republicans have expressed reluctance to do that, instead seeking additional budget cutbacks.

The resolution, sponsored by Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, and six members of Senate leadership was moved to the Senate floor without action to expedite House movement on the matter. Earlier in the day, House Republicans and Edwards met to thrash out differences.

“I am very concerned if we don’t get into using some of the rainy day fund some of those programs that are much needed and much used. . . may very well get hurt,” Alario said. “The clock is running.”

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Former mayor Marc Morial talks race and inequality at Tulane Feb. 16

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 10:53 AM

Former mayor Marc Morial.
  • Former mayor Marc Morial.
Former New Orleans mayor and National Urban League president Marc Morial appears at Tulane University's Lavin-Bernick Center later this week to discuss "The Future of Race and Economics: Income Equality, Health Care and Affordable Housing Under the New Administration."

Noted economist and writer Dr. Julianne Malveaux will facilitate the conversation. According to a release announcing the event, they'll discuss the merits of capitalism and its effect on "vulnerable populations," including people of color. The event is part of Amistad Research Center's "Conversations in Color" series, which recently featured New York Times columnist Charles Blow.

The event takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Lavin-Bernick Center's Kendall Cram Lecture Hall. Admission is free, but participants should register online.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

New Orleans City Council votes to establish Equal Pay Advisory Committee

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 10:45 AM

New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.
  • New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell.

At a meeting held Feb. 9, the New Orleans City Council unanimously voted to create a new committee to provide the council with expertise on matters of pay equity and wage discrimination. It's part of a broader campaign by the Council and city officials to combat the dismal state of pay equity in Louisiana, where women make as little as 48 cents on the dollar to men's earnings.

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Edwards makes case to fix $304M mid-year budget shortfall

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 4:05 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards and his fiscal staff discuss the state’s fiscal shortfall Friday with the joint legislative Committee on the Budget. - SAM KARLIN
  • SAM KARLIN
  • Gov. John Bel Edwards and his fiscal staff discuss the state’s fiscal shortfall Friday with the joint legislative Committee on the Budget.

Gov. John Bel Edwards made his case Jan. 27 for combining the state’s “rainy day fund” and spending cuts to fix a $304 million mid-year budget shortfall, warning lawmakers that funding reductions will be “deep” and “painful” no matter what.

Edwards will unveil a specific plan to address the funding gap Feb. 6, but today he said he wants to protect K-12 education, the Department of Corrections and Department of Children and Family Services from budget cuts.

He will call the Legislature to a special session from Feb. 13-23 specifically to address the deficit.

“It’s an understatement to say there just aren’t any painless options left for us,” Edwards said. “It’s storming ... The idea that under these circumstances we wouldn’t use the rainy day fund for its express purpose doesn’t make any sense to me.”

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Landrieu, Brossett take on wage gap for women with new initiatives

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 6:47 PM

Landrieu in 2012.
  • Landrieu in 2012.

In a Jan. 25 ceremony attended by pay equity advocates and outspoken women's rights champions State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson and State Rep. Helena Moreno, Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed an executive order designed to combat equal pay issues for women who are employees of the City of New Orleans. Though the order applies to just one segment of local working women, it speaks to a persistent regional problem: Louisiana is regularly recognized as the state with the largest pay gap for women, with women earning 65 cents on the dollar to men's earnings. The gap is larger for women of color, who earn as little as 48 cents on the dollar statewide.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of Strangers in Their Own Land, to speak at UNO Jan. 18

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 3:40 PM

Arlie Russell Hochschild. - COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF NEW ORLEANS
  • Courtesy University of New Orleans
  • Arlie Russell Hochschild.

Arlie Russell Hochschild, a sociologist whose spent five years in Lake Charles trying to understand red state voters, will speak at the University of New Orleans next Wednesday.

Hochchild's recent book, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, adds to a growing volume of scholarship about the "Great Paradox," or how conservative voters embrace politicians and policies that seem to oppose their own interests: the poor Appalachia resident who hates "Obamacare," the Gulf Coast fisherman who votes to deregulate the oil industry. You can read an essay adapted from the book here; it was a National Book Award finalist in 2016.

She'll appear in the Innsbruck Room at UNO's University Center at 1 p.m. Jan. 18. It's free to attend.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Brands vs. brawn at the WrestleMania announcement press conference

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 7:42 PM

Longest-reigning WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day kick off the press conference
  • Longest-reigning WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day kick off the press conference

WrestleMania is the biggest event in pro wrestling and one of the biggest entertainment events in the world. On April 8, 2018, WrestleMania will be back in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The press conference formally announcing this, held in the Superdome's Iberville suite, was a joint presentation by the pro wrestling behemoth WWE and representatives of our city, our state and their various sporting and event organizations. Watching the gears interlock was fascinating. It was a node of interaction between two gigantic institutions— the "New Orleans brand" and the WWE brand, cuddled up like two different, specialized cells passing a molecule of money across their membranes.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The fight for $15 an hour in New Orleans

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 3:00 PM

A New Orleans Fight For $15 protest marches on Rampart Street Nov. 29.
  • A New Orleans Fight For $15 protest marches on Rampart Street Nov. 29.

Sharika Evans grew up working in fast food. But, she said, the minimum wages she's received — at $7.25 an hour — are not enough to support a family, her health care, utilities and her bills. Evans said she was fired from the McDonald's on Canal Street following a Fight For $15 protest at the restaurant earlier this year. She held the doors open to protesters.

Around 5 p.m. Nov. 29, more than 100 service workers and supporters marched, with a brass band, from Armstrong Park on Rampart Street to Canal Street near the McDonald's between Royal and Bourbon streets. Protesters blocked car and streetcar traffic in all directions for nearly an hour and linked arms, demanding $15 an hour and the ability to unionize. Six people sitting at the intersection were arrested but released with citations for obstructing street traffic.

"The pay we get doesn't reflect the work we put into it," Evans told Gambit.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Editorial: Our pledge to you

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 9:00 AM

President-elect Donald Trump. - CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • CREATIVE COMMONS/GAGE SKIDMORE
  • President-elect Donald Trump.

America’s political landscape will change dramatically after the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump in January 2017. Already there are mixed messages coming from his transition team as to some of the promises he made while running. For now, we can only go by the man’s words and how they may affect Louisianans.

In the weeks and months to come, we will be keeping an eye on the following:

• The president-elect has promised to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but has provided few details. As of mid-November, more than 339,000 previously uninsured Louisianans are receiving health care through the ACA. We promise to outline their options and find out from doctors which screenings, tests and procedures they should get done now should the ACA go away — with a special focus on women's health care. (Meanwhile, the open enrollment period continues through the end of January; visit ldh.louisiana.gov.)

• The president-elect has made it clear that he does not believe in climate change and promises to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency and key environmental protections. We promise to speak out for clean air, clean water and Louisiana’s fragile coast.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Once more, unto the breach?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 4:16 PM

screen_shot_2016-06-17_at_3.27.24_pm.png
Louisiana lawmakers have until midnight Thursday, June 23, to conclude the second special session of 2016. They have been meeting more or less continuously since Feb. 14, and by now they’re pretty much tired of looking at each other.

But their work is far from done, according to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who summoned them into both special sessions and is said to be considering yet another — yes, a third — if this one doesn’t meet his expectations.

The governor wants lawmakers to boost state revenue by $600 million in the current session. Most lawmakers, including many who support Edwards, say the state could get by with $300 million to $450 million. By either count, the state is still short.

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