Put the cards on the table Friday, Oct 2 2015 



I’ve been following the vague plans by the politicians, business, trade, civic, so-called “good-government” groups, etc. for state government post-Jindal Administration.

They have a lot in common.  They all require more money.

Some of the common denominators are: Fully-fund higher education ($800 Million), fund Pre-K($??), fix the highways and bridges ($12 Billion), a pay raise for public school teachers ($??), fund workforce development ($??), etc.

Funding sources

I looked for the funding sources.   They were the usual vague ideas such as “right-sizing” government, more efficient delivery of services, consolidation, avoiding duplications, an improved economy, etc.

Those are the same ideas used by the Jindal Administration to “balance the budget” each year. The net result was the passage of $800 Million in new taxes and fees during the 2015 Regular Session.  Despite that huge increase there is still a revenue shortfall in the neighborhood of $1 Billion for the upcoming fiscal year.

Not mentioned problems

Not mentioned was addressing the state’s anticipated $2 Billion structural deficit by 2019.  Nor were there plans to pay-off the $20 Billion Unfunded Accrued Liability (UAL) in the state’s pension plans due in 2029.  Then there’s the matter of the state debt ceiling and a possible downgrade of the state’s bond rating (higher cost of borrowing) if the structural deficit is not addressed soon.

While higher taxes are the obvious answer to funding these expenditures, none of the pols or groups are directly suggesting increasing taxes.  Most allude to eliminating unnecessary tax exemptions, rebates, credits, etc.  The net result is the same as a tax increase.

Transparency not surprises

It’s time for the pols and others with spending plans to put their cards on the table.

The special session to take more money from the taxpayers is less than five months away.  We shouldn’t be forced to wait until five days (Time for “call” to be issued.) before the special session to learn whose wallet will be flattened.

Some folks may want to rethink their future plans.


Lege titles or leaders? Thursday, Oct 1 2015 

Leadership Vacuum



Reporter Tyler Bridges writes about a quiet campaign that is going on among the members of the La. House of Representatives for Speaker of the House.  While it may appear insignificant to the public, it is distracting from addressing the serious issues facing the state.  See story here.

Unlike nobility, titles are not required to lead in politics. Leadership is not about having a big office, a prominent parking spot, lots of staff, having lunch at the Mansion, campaign contributions, tax-payer funded junkets, the next political office and people kissing your ass.

True leaders usually emerge out of necessity.   Currently, there is a vacuum of leadership in the  Lege and Executive  Branch.

Bobby Jindal was elected governor twice, but he has been no leader.  Speaker Chuck Kleckley has held the title of Speaker, but he was no leader. Neither is Senate President John Alario.  If they were truly leaders, they would have resolved the problems that have plagued the state for eight years.

Instead of running around the state making deals for committee assignments, etc., to gain the title of Speaker, a true leader would use the next three months to develop a plan and the votes to address the chronic fiscal problems facing a state for the last 8 years.

A true leader would be meeting with like-minded members of leges (House and Senate), the lege staff and other experts to develop a plan to fix the state’s chronic fiscal problems.

Perhaps that person might emerge with the title of Speaker, but it would be incidental to their work, not the goal.

We don’t need leges with titles we need leges who are leaders.


The past is prologue Wednesday, Sep 30 2015 


Same old same old

Traditionally, around this time of year every four years those who pay attention to state government begin to think optimistically about the positive changes that will come with the election of a new governor and new legislators.

This year, I don’t find any optimism among the public or the public officials.  The public has been down this road so often all they see is the lean hogs moving the fat hogs away from the trough.

Where’s the beef?

As to those running for public office, they are doing a good job of regurgitating the state’s problems and telling us what’s wrong with their opponents.   None have offered any specifics that even come close to being realistic solutions.   They are simply pandering.

Everything the pols want to accomplish requires more money in spite of a structural deficit of nearly $2 Billion which is conveniently omitted from their ads.

Lege focus

Each time I discuss a tough budget issue with a reelected incumbent lege, they try very hard not laugh in my face, but they make it clear my suggestions are not “politically-doable.”  That’s political-speak for we don’t have the courage.

Currently, the focus of the newly-elected House members is on who will be the next Speaker and what committee assignments they will get if they support the winner.  That focus will preoccupy them until January 11, 2016, when they are sworn-in and select their officers.

It is a foregone conclusion that Sen. John Alario will be the senate prez.  No change there.  The rest of the elected senators’ rationalize doing nothing is that all the legislation to resolve the fiscal problems must originate in the House so they will react when they see it.  That’s not leadership.

A fractured House

To make matters worse, the Democrat and Republican leges are divided among themselves into factions.  I’m informed there are three factions among the Black Caucus and up to 5 factions among the Republican Caucus (Sounds like D.C.?).  None of the divisions are about issues, but about personalities.

Other factors

The private sector business groups claiming to have plans for the state’s budget problems can’t get past platitudes.  Why?  Because once the details are put on the table they dissolve into more factions than the House.

Other more highly-focused special interest groups are only focused on their single issue and don’t give a damn how getting what they want impacts the overall state problems.


Unfortunately, regardless of who is our next governor, with most of the incumbent leges returning, the political courage and leadership necessary to actually fix the fiscal problems is not there.

Now, take your best shot at this messenger.


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