The fourth legislative session of this year (the tenth under John Bel Edwards’ two and a half year old administration!) has come to a close, and the LAGOP would like to thank our Republican legislators who stayed true to our principles throughout this very difficult half year.
Certainly, a $500M tax increase cannot be considered a victory, but recall that Governor Edwards had spent most of the last two years threatening to raise taxes by well over twice that amount. He threatened the schools, the hospitals, the nursing homes and their infirm patients. At one point last year, he even weaponized the LSU football program by threatening to cancel the season.
And he not only threatened but actually vetoed badly needed public works in districts which elected Republican legislators, to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of our citizens. Yet even with all the threats and intimidation so ruthlessly practiced by this administration, our legislators doggedly fought back, and with much success! With each legislative session following closely upon the heels of the previous “failed” session, the “fiscal cliff” miraculously diminished in size by hundreds of millions of dollars.
In the end the programs were funded and Louisiana now has a budget. Let us not forget, however, at what financial and human cost this was finally achieved. Instead of the temporary one cent sales tax sold to the public in 2016, we now have effectively a half cent sales tax far into the future. Moreover, the same or similar result could have been accomplished much earlier, at far less expense, and without the rancor and hostility that now pervades the legislature, had the Governor made the least effort to compromise his initial demands.
And most of all, never forget that no tax increase whatsoever would have been necessary had the Governor followed up on his campaign promise to cut wasteful spending by the nation’s most bloated and inefficient state government. That is surely something to be considered in next year’s election.
To be continued...
NEXT UP: Where We Go From Here
Louis Gurvich, Chairman Republican Party of Louisiana