This fall, when there is a bit more definition as to the size and scope of Louisiana’s budget calamity – we already know there’s a billion-dollar shortfall in the state’s tax revenues coming out of the COVID-19 virus mess, and that’s likely a very conservative estimate – you can be virtually assured Gov. John Bel Edwards will call a special legislative session for the purpose of trying to tax his way out of the state’s money problems.
He needs a two-thirds vote in order to get a tax increase. The legislature the people of Louisiana elected after the most aggressive effort in Louisiana history to elect conservative reform candidates to that body wouldn’t, you would think, be very receptive to hiking taxes.
But Edwards has a playbook for buffaloing Republicans into abandoning conservative principles and kowtowing to him, and you can be sure that playbook will be employed. You’ll see a parade of horrific predictions about a future with no college football, with seniors booted out of nursing homes (frankly, that would be a good thing seeing the death toll nursing homes have taken on their clientele during the pandemic), with orphans being fed to alligators in the swamps, and so forth. Edwards’ team does it every time, and the fearmongering this fall, in the effort to get that tax-hike money out of a dead state economy, will be at an all-time high level.
But when it comes, and it will come, just remember what Edwards wants you to pay for.
He wants you to pay for a state government responsible for this…
Gov. John Bel Edwards’s administration is crafting plans to wind down a $165 million temporary hospital facility at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, but will leave beds in the facility over the next several months as the state moves through a phased reopening that could produce another spike in cases.
Likewise, Edwards’ administration and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser will keep three of the state’s 21 state parks operating as isolation sites for people who have been infected but are homeless or can’t go home for other reasons, even as Nungesser begins opening the other 18 parks for in-state residents to use recreationally.
The temporary hospital facility at the Convention Center was the cornerstone of the state’s plan to prepare for an onslaught of coronavirus cases expected at hospitals in the New Orleans region as officials discovered an alarming rise in cases in March and April.
But Edwards’ stay-at-home order, which will be lifted Friday, nearly eight weeks after taking effect, has tamped down the spread of the virus considerably. Only 17 people are currently in the Convention Center, and 190 have been treated there, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
He spent $165 million on a pop-up hospital that over the course of two months had less than 200 people as patients, and he’s going to tell you that Louisiana’s state government doesn’t waste money. In this case it isn’t just waste – that money was spent giving out contracts, and it’s only a matter of time before we find out these were his buddies who got all that filthy lucre.
Until the reality on the ground threatened to intrude on Edwards’ governmental plans and he was forced to move Louisiana into the Phase 1 reopening which starts tomorrow, Edwards and his administration were doing everything they could to get to a $660 million virus response spending total, because at $660 million the federal matching share of the spending goes from 75 percent to 90 percent. That’s why Edwards wasted almost a million dollars per patient on that pop-up hospital at the convention center, one of the most egregious examples of setting taxpayer dollars on fire in the history of the state.
He did it in pursuit of a goal to insure that 90 cents of every taxpayer dollar set on fire would be federal taxpayer money and not state taxpayer money.
Somehow, this is seen as good government in Louisiana. And you wonder why more businesses are leaving this state than moving in.
Just remember all this when Edwards tells you that unless you pay him more in sales or income tax he’s going to have to empty the jails, deny seniors a bed for the night, close colleges and prevent you from going fishing, or whatever other threats he and his spin doctors can cook up.