Leges don’t want power Tuesday, Oct 14 2014 

Hear No Evil See No Evil Speak No Evil

Lege oversight committee

For years we’ve heard leges complain about the governor of Louisiana having too much power. The leges claim that our constitution is wherein the problem lies and that we must have a constitutional convention to re-balance the power.

Each time that I’ve heard the complaint, I’ve asked the lege who made it what specific power is it that our governor has that governors in the other states don’t have. All that I learned is that our leges don’t know what’s in the state constitution and don’t understand the lege process.

I’m beginning to believe (as some speculate) that the leges don’t want power, because with power comes responsibility.  As things are , when problems arise, it’s easier for the leges to tell their constituents that it’s all the governor’s fault.

Lege power

During the recent House Appropriations Committee hearing on the Office of Group Benefits (“OGB”) I saw the leges’ ignorance of the lege process once again. Either they were playing dumb or were ignorant of the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”).

The APA is the process whereby the leges exercise oversight over most Executive Branch agencies in keeping with the constitutional mandated (Article II, LA. Const.) of “separation of powers.”

The APA was passed to make sure that agency rule-making did not supersede the bounds or intent of laws passed by the lege. If this process was not in place or is ignored the law-making function is, in effect, delegated to bureaucrats under the control of the governor.

It appears the APA process has been intentionally thwarted by the leadership of the House and Senate. Required oversight committee hearings are simply not held to review bureaucratic rules, thus allowing them to go into effect by default.

Lege branch irrelevant

During the Jindal Administration the lege has become less and less relevant. In case of the OGB the changes to the benefits weren’t even submitted, as required by the APA, to the lege leadership for consideration.

During the debate on term limits for the leges it was argued that if enacted the state would be run by the bureaucrats.  That is exactly what has happened, but not directly because of term limits, but because of their lack of institutional knowledge the leges have empowered the bureaucrats by benign neglect.

Buck stops here

To fix the problems with OGB, assuming the leges are willing to accept the responsibility, the ball in their court.   All the leges have to do is call a meeting of House Appropriations Committee (or Senate Finance Committee) to reject the changes proposed by OGB.

For those concerned about your OGB benefits and premiums you have the power.  Bobby Jindal is a “lame duck” and is off running for president.  The bureaucrats don’t have to run for reelection, the leges do.  Either insist the leges exercise the power they have or replace them in 2015.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill
 

Does La. have a $178 Million surplus? Friday, Oct 10 2014 

money-in-couch

Source of state surplus?

On Thursday it was reported byKSLA-TV that Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said the state of Louisiana ended Fiscal Year 2014 with a $178 Million Surplus.

No further details were available from any sources.  After all the dire predictions about state finances, it makes one wonder from where this alleged surplus came.

Nichols said that she was going to work with the leges to help Higher Education and Healthcare. That gives one the impression these two areas of budget may get some help. However, neither Nichols nor the leges have a lot of latitude in where a surplus can be spent.

The state constitution limits the use of one-time revenues to one-time expenditures, such as capital construction, debt repayment including the retirement systems unfunded accrued liability (“UAL”), coastal restoration, etc.

Additionally, the state financing scheme for privatization of the LSU Hospitals has not been approved by the Feds. As such, this alleged surplus could quickly evaporate if the state has to repay the Feds for certain Medicaid funds used in the scheme.

Finally, Nichols has been known to provide information in which there was a grain of truth.

If anyone has any details on this alleged surplus, please pass it on.

C.B.

Edmonson deserves no credit Monday, Sep 22 2014 

manure

It’s still manure!

There’s not much I can add to my buddy Tom Aswell’s commentary about the Baton Rouge newspaper’s sucking up to State Police Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson.

It’s obvious that the editorial writer had no knowledge of the facts (Including the spelling of Edmonson’s name.) about the matter which the editorial was written. That’s hardly surprising because the Advocate mostly ignored the matter.

What got to Tom and others who followed this scandal was this statement in the editorial:

It is to the credit of Col. Mike Edmondson (sic) and Master Sgt. Louis Boquet, of Houma, that they declined to accept the raise because of irregularities in its passage. Advocate, September 19, 2014.

First, I never saw or heard any plans by Boquet to decline the raise. That was a point I made in some of my commentaries about why SB 294 had to be declared unconstitutional.

Second, as Tom points out, Edmonson only declined the extra $55k a year in retirement benefits after being caught with his hand in the cash register.

Using that logic, if one robs a convenience store, but gives the money back after being caught, the Advocate would give the robber “credit” for not spending the money.

This effort to put perfume on manure might make it smell better, but just like the Advocate’s editorial, it is still manure.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill
 

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