Here’s Louisiana House Republican Delegation chairman Lance Harris (R-Alexandria) commenting about the one-third-penny sales tax renewal bill he was able to pass on the floor yesterday…
If you read our writeup on the vote passing that bill yesterday, you’ll note we’re not enthusiastic about the bill. How could we be? It’s a tax increase to fund the most bloated, ineffective and manifestly worthless state government in America, one which has established Louisiana as the Cleveland Browns of American state politics. On the other hand, it’s hard to fault Harris for coming up with some sort of offer of compromise given the apparent success Gov. John Bel Edwards has had, through Herculean and dogged efforts on his part, in painting the state’s “fiscal cliff” as an impending calamity addressable only through tax increases.
We’re not going to attack the Republicans who voted for the bill. For some it’s of a piece with other bills to raise taxes they can’t stop supporting, but for many others they’re joining Harris in trying to make Edwards’ Useful Crisis go away without insisting on some sort of considerations offered up by the governor.
Does this bill do enough? Probably not, but it’s what is possible at this point with this legislature and this governor.
But note what Harris says…
“This bill doesn’t make as many cuts as Republicans want and it doesn’t raise taxes as much as the governor wants. The bill to reduce spending and renew one-third of the one-cent sales tax is our compromise.
“It took an enormous amount of effort to make this compromise work. Reaching a consensus was almost impossible, but we made it happen. If any additional taxes are added it will destroy that consensus.
“We look forward to completing the process, making sure our critical services are funded and starting Louisiana down the road to responsible spending and state government living within its means.”
See that warning?
Harris has said he’d oppose House concurrence with any Senate amendments put on his bill. We know those amendments are coming – there is no way the bill won’t be “juiced up,” in the words of one member of the Senate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee, who last week warned not to send the bill over. And Harris’ warning that the 76 votes he managed to pull together on the bill in his second attempt to pass it won’t be there if it carries more taxes after the Senate is done with it is key to the entire discussion.
This will doubtless be lost in the reporting of his statement, and it’s going to be that Lance Harris is the villain who won’t compromise…on his compromise bill.
But Harris can bring all the bills he wants. He brought this one because it’s the one he could get a consensus on.
And when – not if, but when – that consensus in the House is blown apart by the Senate “juicing up” his bill and Harris throws up his hands in frustration, those same people will say it’s the House Republicans who destroyed the current special session.
— Maddie Fireman (@FireMaddie) May 29, 2018
Meanwhile, amid the screeching about the fact HB 1 was only just introduced in this special session today and the state doesn’t have a budget to debate yet (and this is somehow House Appropriations Committee chair Cameron Henry’s fault, despite the fact the state’s budget passed in both houses was vetoed by the governor), here was the scene in the Appropriations Committee earlier today…
— Harrison Golden (@harrisongolden) May 29, 2018
The Poor People’s Campaign was the same gang of morons who got themselves arrested for blocking traffic in downtown Baton Rouge a week ago. Now they’re blowing up Twitter with idiocy like this…
— LyndaIBelieveWoolard (@LyndaWoolard) May 29, 2018
In such an environment there is little to no hope this session won’t devolve into exactly what we’ve feared it would be all along – an intransigent governor and lickspittle media rejecting a Republican compromise offer while savaging the Republicans for intransigence.
But at some point that act will grow thin with the state’s people, who manifestly do not want tax increases. At some point, we expect soon, there will be a new poll out on Edwards’ approval rating following his threat to evict seniors from nursing homes, and that poll will almost certainly show a degradation of Edwards’ approval rating from the 50 score he polled when Morning Consult measured his approval rating in April. With Edwards below 50, as he’s sure to be, it will be interesting to see if the governor continues his current game.