It’s two weeks until 2020 and one month since John Bel Edwards’ re-election. In a few weeks the governor is obligated to deliver his 2020 Executive Budget. The clock is ticking.
During the just-concluded gubernatorial campaign many well-connected Republicans pounded Eddie Rispone in support of John Bel Edwards because he had not revealed a detailed “plan.” Of course, in four years neither has John Bel Edwards, but never let a fact get in the way of protecting one’s own self-interest and income.
So now it’s been four weeks and other than a high-profile vacation to the Heisman trophy award, paid to a large extent by the people, have we heard anything from the governor about a plan? Well, one could say that his effort last week to recognize a hundred million or so of revenue for increased spending pretty much tells us all we need to know.
The forum of the Revenue Estimating Committee would have been a perfect place to unveil a plan to demonstrate a goal of making government more efficient and effective; what better “plan” than justifying new spending by showing how existing spending could be doing a better job for taxpayers.
But no, it was just more of the same. Give us more money to spend, don’t ask for reform, and rely on a willing media to decry Republican efforts to promote good government. Pretty much the same thing, less the inevitable threats and fear tactics, that we have come to expect from a governor who would rather go to Joe Burrow’s Heisman award ceremony than to deliver a plan to raise Louisiana from the bottom.
So, what would I have done? In this meeting I would have brought forth a list of state priorities and how effective we have been at achieving them. Then I would have specifically defined where we could make improvements, not just in saving money but also in delivering the services that our people expect. Then, and only then, I would have made, or perhaps not made, an argument for the validity of recognizing the revenue as recurring and as being important to funding specific efforts to make government better.
Instead we heard the usual dribble about how many things would not be funded and how devastating it all would be if the governor wasn’t given this extra money to spend. Fortunately, we finally have a legislature willing to demand that governors do a far better job justifying new spending and this all died in the Conference. My hunch is the sky won’t fall, and the state will just keep humming along even without an extra hundred million of slush funds for the governor.
Can we expect to see any effort by Governor Edwards to reform government and to make spending more effective? Not a chance. My other hunch is that we will see is that in his first year of his new term he will promote a far-left agenda to placate his “progressive/socialist” democrat supporters. This will be exactly what was tried incrementally over the years and just as then, it will fail. After his first year I suspect that we will see three years of posturing himself for life after being governor. Either he will set himself up as a super trial lawyer or he will, like Governor Jindal did, play for national office.
I see no sign that he will have any “plan” to bring Louisiana into the 21st century. That is unless you consider the status quo with more taxes a “plan.”