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Author: Jeff Crouere Created: 2/4/2009 9:22 PM
Bio to come....

                With a legislative session poised to begin on March 29, state lawmakers are grappling with a difficult budget situation. The financial picture is so bleak that the Civil Service Commission has recommended that annual pay raises be suspended for 60,000 state employees beginning July 1. Long gone are the days post-Katrina when federal money was pouring into the state. Almost five years after the hurricane, the level of federal funds being allocated for Louisiana has declined sharply. In addition, Louisiana tax revenue has been falling. For example, in the month of February, “both income and sales taxes did not meet expectations,” according to LSU economist James Richardson. This situation has created a mid-year budget deficit that could reach $400 million. Several months ago, the Jindal administration made painful budget cuts of almost $250 million, which severely impacted higher education and healthcare services. The need for additional budget cuts should provide legislative support for the work...

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                 Louisiana state government is filled with unneeded positions that only add to our bloated budget. One perfect example is the office of Lt. Governor. Maybe in good economic times such a ceremonial position can be justified, but not today.  Currently, the state of Louisiana is facing a severe fiscal crisis and Governor Bobby Jindal is proposing significant spending cuts to balance the budget. He is also recommending that the office of Lt. Governor be eliminated, which bolsters the viewpoint of budget reformers who have long advocated that the position is unnecessary. 



Clearly, this is one of the Governor’s best ideas. At one time, the Lt. Governor served as President of the State Senate and performed very important tasks. Over the years, various administrations have pared down the job role description of the Lt. Governor. Today, the office of Lt. Governor has very limited duties and is needless in our state government. Several years ago, the state eliminated the position of Elections...

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       For decades, Louisiana state government has been growing with reckless abandon. Louisiana politicians have funded the welfare state with high taxes, mineral revenues and plenty of cash from Uncle Sam. Sadly, for the politicians in Baton Rouge, the party is over. The national recession, coupled with the decline in hurricane related federal funding, means that our state government needs to embark on a massive diet. 

      The pain really began last year. Since our constitution requires the state to balance the budget each year, significant spending reductions were required, especially in the areas of higher education and healthcare. Over the past year, about one quarter of a billion dollars has been cut from the higher education budget and some services will be permanently eliminated. For example, the LSU agricultural center will no longer be able to have a presence in all 64 parishes in the state. 

      Next year, the cuts will have to be larger as budget analysts predict that there will...

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Since he was elected, U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise (R-Metairie) has been making headlines on Capitol Hill. On many issues such as healthcare reform, the conservative congressman has been at the forefront of the fight against the liberal agenda of President Obama. 

Despite his high profile back home, many people from around the country were unaware of Scalise until he tangled with Al Gore on the issue of global warming in April. At the congressional hearing, Scalise was the only committee member to aggressively question Gore about his harebrained theories on global warming. Scalise examined the lack of true science behind Gore’s theories. While Gore stressed it was “settled,” Scalise pointed out that thousands of scientists disagree with the belief that humans are causing the globe to warm. By exposing Gore, Scalise provided a true service to the entire country. 

Today, Scalise is again leading the fight on this issue by disputing the radical agenda of the Copenhagen climate change meeting. In December, delegates from around the world descended on Copenhagen to find agreement on climate change. The agenda of the global warming purists is at odds with reality and the economic interests of billions of people. To the global warming believers “climate change” is the worst problem we face as a planet and it is essential that nations commit to reduce their carbon emissions.  In reality, the conference attendees are not acting like scientists, but, instead, activists who are pushing an agenda. 

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After a very slow start the race for Mayor of New Orleans is finally taking shape. Currently, there are six serious candidates: businessman John Georges, businessman Troy Henry, former Orleans Parish School Board Member Leslie Jacobs, State Senator Ed Murray, non-profit housing executive James Perry, and former Judge Nadine Ramsey.  

Last week, Jacobs decided to enter the field of candidates, after poll results indicated that the race was winnable. Jacobs is well known to New Orleans voters because of her efforts on behalf of education reform, especially in the Orleans Parish public school system. She has worked for years as an insurance executive and served on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). Post-Katrina, Jacobs has been at the forefront of the charter school movement in Louisiana. With New Orleans witnessing significant improvement in the local public education system, Jacobs can claim at least partial credit for pushing for the serious changes that were needed. 

It is...

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            Several months ago, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was the hot ticket in the Republican Party. Unfortunately, he bombed when giving the GOP response to President Obama’s address to Congress in February. Now, he is registering at the bottom of the pack among potential GOP presidential hopefuls. At the recent Values Voters Summit hosted by the Family Research Council in Washington D.C., Jindal finished seventh with only 5% of the vote.

              With such lackluster results, Jindal is revamping his strategy. In a recent interview with Politico, Jindal recommended that Republicans work with President Obama to find compromise on the issue of health care reform. He advised that Republicans approach the President and say, “We’re willing to work with you in a bipartisan way.”

              The offer to compromise is quite a different approach from the one that Jindal has exhibited in recent Fox News interviews. He is also pursuing a different strategy from many Republicans who seem more interested in stopping any kind of health care bill.

...

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            Barack Obama is constantly overloading our airwaves, the Internet, print and every form of broadcast media. By a large margin, Obama is the most overexposed President in our nation’s history, making it almost impossible to hide from the image and voice of our new Commander-in-Chief.  

            He has been featured on the cover of magazines such as Time and Newsweek dozens of times. At this point in his term, he has conducted more television interviews and news conferences than any other President. A study by Towson University professor Martha Joynt Kumar showed that Obama had done 114 media interviews during his first seven months in office, about three times more than George W. Bush and Bill Clinton at the same point in their tenures.

             Recently, in the span of just over a week, the President was interviewed on 60 Minutes, five Sunday news programs, and the Late Night Show with David Letterman. It seems that the President has a media appearance each day. The format...

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Although the northshore is a quiet bedroom community with a great quality of life, more and more people are getting upset about what is happening to their country. While life may be good on the local level, on a national level, there is grave concern about the direction of the Obama administration. An increasing number of outraged people are taking a stand to show their opposition to what is happening in Washington D.C.

In late August, the Obama administration announced that the federal deficit for the ten year period ending 2019 will reach $9 trillion, more than the total of all of the yearly deficits since the founding of the nation. By 2019, the national debt will comprise three-quarters of the nation’s economy.

Our national debt is already close to $12 trillion. We should conclude this fiscal year with an annual budget deficit of $1.8 trillion; quadruple the level of the last Bush budget. While Bush pushed through the $700 billion TARP bailout, Obama has accelerated spending to an unprecedented...

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The first six months of President Obama have been exhausting for the American people. It has been one major initiative after another at a dizzying pace. After his initial success in pushing through Congress the $787 billion stimulus plan and the earmark laden omnibus spending bill, the President has started to stumble. The economy continues to decline and the President’s popularity ratings have also decreased. People are losing confidence in President Obama and souring on his ambitious plans to remake this country.  It is no surprise to see plummeting support for Obama because whenever the economy falters, the President suffers politically.

 

What is a surprise is how badly the administration “misread” the economy. Even Vice-President Joe Biden admitted that the economy was much worse than the administration had realized. In an ABC-TV interview, Biden finally confessed that the administration was wrong with its economic projections. The administration predicted the unemployment rate would not top...

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As usual, this legislative session featured another missed opportunity for reform in Louisiana. At least this year, legislators were not trying to triple their salaries. They spent most of their time squabbling over money, as the budget deficit made things uncomfortable in Baton Rouge. Revenue was $1.3 billion less than last year due to the poor national economy and the drop in oil and gas prices. As usual, health care and higher education bore the brunt of the cuts. Despite much hyperbole about drastic spending cuts, in the end, legislators used millions from the Rainy Day fund, an insurance incentive fund and the federal stimulus to minimize any spending reductions.

 

So, holes in the budget were patched with “one time” money and real systemic budget and fiscal reform was not attempted. The legislative slush fund remained intact, so did an outrageous multi-million dollar subsidy to a golf course in Jefferson Parish. An effort to streamline our bloated higher education system will...

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On May 21, Ray Nagin delivered his last major address as Mayor of New Orleans. It was his annual “State of the City” speech and it was quite a spectacle with Gospel choirs, multi-media presentations, television star Wendell Pierce, a lavish spread of refreshments, and giveaways for all of the guests who attended.

 

Interestingly, the crowd was mostly members of the media and the Nagin administration who were required to attend. Very few regular citizens took the time and trouble to witness the extravaganza at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts. Alert for the news media: it may be an interesting public records request to investigate how much tax money was used to organize this unnecessary event.

 

The purpose was mostly to bolster the ego of Mayor Nagin and allow him to present the best possible case for his two terms. Nagin is fighting for a better legacy, but that quest should not be funded by the struggling taxpayers of his city. There are innumerable...

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Everyday millions of Americans watch the changes instituted by Barack Obama with stunned amazement. While in Europe, the President bowed to the Saudi King, apologized for this nation and called us “arrogant.” To top it off, he rejected the Judeo-Christian heritage of the United States by labeling America a “secular” nation similar to Turkey.  At the Summit of the Americas, the President warmly embraced socialist strongman Hugo Chavez and talked about a new relationship with the communist thugs in Cuba.

 

His domestic agenda is even more radical. Several weeks ago, administration officials leaked their plan to create a path to citizenship for the 12 million illegal aliens in this country. Most Americans do not want to create a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens, for that is amnesty for lawbreakers. Americans want our laws enforced and our borders secured, but Barack Obama has other plans.

 

Add immigration “reform” to the long list of policy initiatives that will be introduced by the Obama administration. There will be healthcare “reform,” energy “reform” and education “reform.” Each set of “reform” proposals will cost trillions and add to our ever-growing national debt. From the stimulus plan to the omnibus spending bill with 9,000 earmarks to the $3.6 trillion budget, the administration’s thirst for radical change seems unquenchable.

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The next big political campaign in the New Orleans area will be the race for Mayor. Incumbent Mayor Ray Nagin is term limited and cannot seek re-election. With an open seat, there will be a large list of candidates entering the race. Qualifying does not start until early December, with the election scheduled to be held next February. 

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