Please click to view the full detailed solutions paper from the Pelican Institute for Public Policy (Pelican Institute). Today, in its newest deep dive paper, the Pelican Institute revealed that since implementing Medicaid expansion, tens of thousands of Louisianans have dropped private health insurance coverage to enroll in Medicaid, costing the program more than $145 million…
Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report examining the job data for April 2019. Many have been quick to paint this report as great news, pointing out that Louisiana’s jobless rate has dropped by 0.2 percent, bringing the total unemployment rate to 4.5 percent. In a vacuum, this would be great news, even…
Since the first drive-thru daiquiri stand opened in Lafayette in 1981, the boozy, sugary drink-on-the-go concept has spread far and wide and is undoubtedly a Louisiana institution. But, while picking up a daiquiri (or two) has become a Louisiana tradition, businesses offering alcohol delivery services have been off the menu. Thankfully, two pieces of legislation,…
Louisiana lawmakers must reform and modernize sales tax code, Pelican Institute and National Taxpayers Union Foundation says
Today, as part of the Pelican Institute’s “A Jobs and Opportunity Agenda for Louisiana,” the organization announced its partnership with NTUF to present solutions to reforming Louisiana’s complicated and outdated sales tax code in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair. This decision overturned a previous precedent that required a business…
Louisiana has a long and storied history when it comes to its alcohol. The state that gave Bourbon its name and claims to have invented the cocktail has been a Mecca for those looking to enjoy its potent potables. But today, thanks to outdated laws on craft breweries, Louisiana is in danger of becoming stuck…
With Presidential candidates revealing plans to forgive billions of dollars in student loan debt, it no surprise that the conversation has centered around debt incurred at four-year universities. But four-year universities are hardly the only place students are racking up thousands in debt. Students around the country are also undergoing significant debt in order to…
As Louisiana lawmakers seek to make our state more inviting to job creators and seekers, there are two areas in desperate need of addressing – Louisiana’s abysmal legal and regulatory structures. From overreaching occupational licensing laws to predatory state-sanctioned litigation against the state’s largest job creators, legal and regulatory issues continue to stifle hard-working Louisiana…
Ever since the new estimates from the U.S Census Bureau showing that both Louisiana and the City of New Orleans have lost population for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, there have been plenty of questions as to why. Luckily for us, more government data paints a crystal clear picture for the reason people are…
In today’s hyper-partisan times, there is at least one thing all Louisianans should agree on: our state is struggling to provide a quality education for its students. Our state continues to lag behind the rest of the nation, ranking 46 out of 50 in quality of schools and second to last in quality of education.…
Another Louisiana legislative session, another proposal to raise the gas tax. With Louisiana’s infrastructure in admittedly bad shape, it’s clear that something needs to be done. What’s disappointing is that the prevailing opinion of how to solve this problem would do nothing to address it while increasing the tax burden on citizens. Those who support…
April 15th is Tax Day, otherwise known as the day that people hurriedly buy tax preparation software and search frantically for their W-2 form. While filing your annual taxes is important, unless you want the IRS coming to your door, it’s not the only day that you actually pay taxes. Payroll taxes, social security taxes…
This week, the Louisiana Legislature convened in Baton Rouge for the first day of the 2019 session. The Pelican Institute remains hopeful that lawmakers will abandon the broken status quo and advance polices that will bring jobs and opportunity to our state. Our lawmakers must have the courage to cast out the remnants of Huey…
As the legislative session gets underway, there are important discussions happening about the two competing budgets filed by the legislature. This comes on the heels of Governor Edwards releasing his 2019 proposed budget just a few weeks ago. The governor’s budget proposed spending $30 billion and planned to increase education spending. But, what does $30…
When there is bipartisan agreement on an issue, great things can be accomplished. Just look at criminal justice reforms, which passed in Louisiana two years ago. Thanks to both sides of the aisle coming together, Louisiana’s streets will be safer, while taxpayers will save millions of dollars. But, bipartisan agreement can also be incredibly dangerous.…
That the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently designated Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion to the able-bodied as “high risk,” following the release of a “deeply troubling” report by the state’s Legislative Auditor late last year, should surprise no one. As the Pelican Institute first reported last year, enrollment in Medicaid expansion has exploded,…
The American economy is growing and growing strong. More than a decade after the financial collapse and great recession, the American economy continues to grow at an impressive rate. The most recent economic report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis continues to reflect this reality, showing a growth in the American economy of 3.4 percent.…
RIGHT ON CRIME PARTNERS WITH THE PELICAN INSTITUTE TO OFFER LOUISIANA PUBLIC SAFETY AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM SOLUTIONS
In partnership with Right on Crime, the Pelican Institute for Public Policy (Pelican Institute) today released a free-market agenda for smart, sensible criminal justice and public safety reforms under the organization’s policy platform, “A Jobs and Opportunity Agenda for Louisiana.” Louisianans from all walks of life support policies that accomplish the goals of increasing public safety,…
Today, the Pelican Institute for Public Policy (Pelican Institute) announces a significant expansion of its team, with the hiring of Renee Amar as vice president for government affairs, James Baehr as general counsel and Eric Peterson as director of policy. All three are experts in the fields of government affairs and public policy and have…
Despite some progress in recent years, it’s no secret that Louisiana’s public educational system still lags behind the rest of the nation in overall performance. For example, Louisiana’s most recent test scores revealed eighth grade reading numbers fell behind 41 other states, while the state’s performance in eighth grade math ranked below 48 states. The…
Every time you turn around, Louisiana earns another not-so-prestigious honor by being listed among the worst states for quality job and economic growth. Just last month, the U.S. Census Bureau revealed nearly 28,000 Louisianans left the state over the past year. One of the primary contributors to the state’s inability to retain residents and remain…
It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that Louisiana’s so-called “revenue problem” isn’t really a problem at all. Indeed, Louisiana’s real “problem” lies in our state government’s overspending, and that issue is exacerbated by its convoluted local government system. So, how do we solve the core problems with Louisiana’s local government system and ensure it encourages…
The big case over the “little frog that might” and the federal government’s encroachment on private property rights got its day in court. Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States announced a unanimous decision affirming the rights of St. Tammany Parish property owners over federal regulators and remanded the case to the lower courts.…
“Louisiana is facing a massive fiscal cliff, and we need solutions.” This sentence should sound familiar to all Louisianans. Year after year, our state faces yet fiscal crisis after fiscal crisis, leaving lawmakers and their constituents calling for permanent solutions to Louisiana’s budget woes. Today, the Pelican Institute answers that call with the release of…
This week, the Pelican Institute releases its “Jobs and Opportunity Agenda for Louisiana,” a road map for reclaiming Louisiana as a land of opportunity for all its citizens. This agenda is the result of months of data-crunching, research, analysis and consultation with experts from Louisiana and across the country. In crafting these solutions, our team sought to answer a…
The Little Frog That Might Once upon a time there lived a small frog in Louisiana that adorably covers its eyes when exposed to bright light or other threats (kind of like a Gremlin). This little frog, whose mating call has been likened to human snoring, is at the center of a big fuss ever since…
By Chris Jacobs The recent news that Louisiana ran a budget surplus of at least $300 million during the fiscal year that concluded in July should not come as a surprise. For all of the talk about the state’s “fiscal crisis” by some politicians, that term does not apply. Louisiana does not have—and did not…
James Lapeyre, leader of Smart on Crime Louisiana, and Daniel Erspamer, CEO of Pelican Institute, had to go on the record in an OpEd to The Advocate concerning U.S. Senator John Kennedy’s mischaracterizations of the criminal justice reforms in Louisiana. Here are just a few of the claims that he made vs. the facts: Claim:…
As of July 1, taxpayers in Louisiana will be paying more than $800 million in additional state taxes than were on the books coming into this year. The first hit came in the form of an unintended consequence of federal tax reform, which resulted in an increase in income taxes at the state level by…
The Supreme Court Wednesday in a landmark decision freed millions of public sector workers from the requirement of paying dues to a union as a condition of employment. Pelican Institute CEO Daniel Erspamer was interviewed by The Louisiana Record concerning the Janus v. AFSCME decision from the Supreme Court, with an article following highlighting how public sector…
NEW ORLEANS, La. (June 18, 2018) — The following is a statement from Daniel Erspamer, chief executive officer of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy (Pelican Institute), regarding the upcoming third 2018 Louisiana special legislative session and tax proposals currently under consideration: “As Louisiana heads into its third special legislative session of the year, our state’s lawmakers…
NEW ORLEANS, La. (June 14, 2018) – Today, the Pelican Institute for Public Policy (Pelican Institute) announces the hiring of Emily Davenport as vice president and Alyssa “Aly” Rau as external affairs manager. Both Davenport and Rau are Louisiana natives with deep, professional experience in the fields of government affairs and public policy. As vice president,…
Lawmakers in Baton Rouge continue to debate solutions to the so-called “Fiscal Cliff.” The Governor and his allies have called for new taxes to close the gap between proposed spending and projected revenue, while others have suggested prioritizing spending and right-sizing government would be a better pathway to the Constitutionally-mandated balanced budget. As the state…
We keep seeing news of Louisiana’s job gains, but the numbers seem to tell a different story. It’s certainly true that we’re landing projects, but the question of overall job growth never seems to be addressed directly. This is either good PR or bad policy analysis, because as it turns out: Louisiana’s Not Working. Here…
Why expanding Louisiana’s program to able-bodied adults hurts the economy By Chris Jacobs, Senior Fellow Louisiana’s Medicaid expansion helped far too few people obtain good, affordable health coverage and actually cost Louisiana desperately needed jobs. But a taxpayer-funded report released by the Louisiana Department of Health on April 10 claims that the state’s Medicaid expansion…
In Restoring the Right to Earn a Living: A Common-Sense Solution to Occupational Licensing Job Barriers, Goldwater Institute Director of National Litigation Jon Riches examines the burdens inflicted by onerous job licensing requirements in Louisiana. And for many Louisiana job-seekers, it’s a pretty grim situation. “For too many professions, occupational licensing requirements do not exist…
As the Louisiana legislature ponders ways to resolve the state’s “fiscal cliff,” policy-makers should remember the massive costs associated with the state’s embrace of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Enrollment in this expansion to the able bodied (i.e., working-age adults without dependent children) has exploded, raising Medicaid expenses. Moreover, the expansion discourages work, and disadvantages the most…
“Net Neutrality” has been in the news a lot lately. If many of your Facebook friends are to be believed, repeal of the Obama-era Federal Communications Commission regulation signals the end of the Internet as we know it. But, that is not the case. After the FCC voted to return Internet Service Providers (ISPs, for…
As the state faces down a looming budget gap, there will be a number of proposals on the table. But, what is the real situation, and what should our state leaders do about it? Get all the facts in the Pelican Institute’s Citizen’s Guide to the Fiscal Cliff.
In Pelican Institute CEO Daniel Erspamer’s latest column in The Hayride, he lays out what’s at stake in the coming debate about how to solve Louisiana’s “Fiscal Cliff.” It starts with getting the facts right. The problem with all of this is we haven’t really identified the problem. The truth is, given recent events, the…
Today, Smart on Crime Louisiana, Right On Crime, and the Pelican Institute for Public Policy released a new video making the business case for criminal justice reform in Louisiana. The video features state business leaders James M. “Jay” Lapeyre Jr. and John Finan Jr. and is being heavily promoted online throughout Louisiana.
This year we have a critical opportunity to advance criminal justice reform in Louisiana. In that effort, Smart on Crime Louisiana has combined efforts with Right on Crime Louisiana to advance a conservative, business-led approach to be both tough and smart on crime.
Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the nation, costing taxpayers nearly $700 million per year with poor outcomes. Now is the time to act to reform our state’s criminal justice system and invest in evidence-backed alternatives to incarceration for low risk offenders. Reinvestment reform packages have already passed in other states including Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi where they have effectively reduced imprisonment, saved billions, and increased public safety.
Kevin Kane founded The Pelican Institute in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He guided it successfully for eight years before eventually succumbing to gastrointestinal cancer on October 28th, 2016, last Friday. Obituaries and memorial statements have been published in The Advocate, The Times-Picayune, The Gambit Weekly, and on the State Policy Network website. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church, 1545 State St., New Orleans. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m.
The burden of attaining an occupational license makes it harder for job seekers to enter the workplace. This results in fewer workers, and thus fewer options for consumers, which is the perfect environment for prices to rise.
Louisiana’s fiscal health ranks 33rd best among the states and Puerto Rico, according to a 2016 report by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Our neighbors have paved the way: now Louisiana is positioned to engage in a substantive effort to improve its criminal justice system and to yield the benefits that so many other states are enjoying.
Several states have already passed Article V resolutions for the purpose of reigning in the federal government, and the Pelican State may be headed in that direction.
The subpoena is an attempt to intimidate Americans for exercising their First Amendment rights. While the attorneys general have a right to form a coalition “aggressively protecting” their efforts to combat climate change, they do not have a right to abuse their authority.
All findings of the 2016 Index considered, the regimen for Louisiana is clear. Louisiana needs to adopt more fiscally responsible policies, including a tax policy overhaul if it wants to improve its Economic Outlook and become more hospitable to individuals and businesses.
While preventing pay discrimination is a laudable goal, legislators should consider the various factors contributing to the wage gap and the possible unintended consequences of the law before approving this bill.
Less than two months after taking office, Attorney General Jeff Landry is wasting no time declaring that there is a new sheriff in town.
The question of whether states can or should tax businesses when their only in-state presence is an internet link on an affiliate’s website has been a point of controversy in recent years.
In Louisiana, Reentry Courts make use of the innovative reentry program at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola – known as the Offender Rehabilitation and Workforce Development Program.
Perhaps reevaluating the role government regulations play in driving up the cost of health care is a better approach than passing new, anti-free market legislation.
But raising the state sales tax without reducing other taxes will just knock the state of its top-five states for taxes and distance itself from the leaders in the country.
According to the plan, Louisiana will have to lower its carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 30 percent of 2012 levels by 2030. Since renewable sources are much more expensive than coal, energy costs will increase drastically, and families and businesses will be burdened with tough financial decisions.
ESAs provide more choice to parents and students while allowing the state to save money. This is quite the opposite of the conventional public school system that often produces poor results and fails to offer a range of alternatives for families.
A December report by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian think tank, Economic Freedom of North America, shows that not all state governments honor personal choice and the market – the two key components of economic freedom.
The poll indicates there is broad support for reforms that would save taxpayer money and prioritize community supervision programs over incarceration for low level, non-violent offenders.
If Louisiana wants to lower its cost of living, attract more businesses and ultimately improve its economy as a whole, tort reform is necessary. These simple reforms are nothing radical. They would simply bring Louisiana up to speed with the rest of the nation.
Not surprisingly, the survey also found that nearly 40 percent of Americans across the country hand over a chunk of their hard-earned paychecks to their union bosses without knowing they have other options.
Nearly five years after the disaster, Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch took a close look at where all the money from the BP settlement is going and asked the critical question: Who is benefiting most from the unprecedented class action settlement set up to compensate victims in the aftermath of the 2010 oil spill?
The short session, which opened last week and must conclude by June 11th, will be dominated by debate over taxes and spending cuts as legislators look for creative ways to balance the budget.
Guest Commentary: Oil Spill Settlement Makes Lawyers, Administrators Rich While Disaster Victims Await Payments
BATON ROUGE, LA- Nearly five years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, a legal watchdog group is calling into question who is benefiting most from the unprecedented class action settlement set up to compensate victims in the aftermath of the 2010 oil spill. “Class action lawsuits are notorious for producing highly…
Today the Pelican Institute for Public Policy is releasing a new study by economists at the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University which finds that the three recent Environmental Protection Agency regulations on mercury and carbon dioxide emissions will increase Louisiana electricity prices by 22 percent by 2030.
Before the Flood: Reducing Louisiana’s Vulnerability to Severe Weather Through Market-Based Insurance Reforms
Louisiana’s unique coastal vulnerabilities will require the state to pursue sensible free-market reforms to its insurance markets and built environment to avoid catastrophic costs in the decades ahead.
Louisiana has earned the seventh-highest ranking in the 2014–2015 American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) Judicial Hellholes® report of the worst places to be sued.
Given the Republican wave that washed away the union’s national ambitions last month, it would be a remarkable development if politically conservative Jefferson Parish elected to turn its School Board over to the friends of the American Federation of Teachers.
This case is a stunning example of class action lawyers doing what they do best: using lawsuits to create the illusion of relief that will ultimately do nothing more than increase their own bottom lines.
Jefferson is overcoming these challenges because strong leaders have implemented sensible policies and put results ahead of pleasing special interests. As other districts look to Jefferson and realize that unions are hindering reform, the tide will turn against organizations like the American Federation of Teachers.
Today the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, in cooperation with The Liberty Foundation, offers new data focusing on the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR), with a special focus on gender and minority groups.
Guest Commentary: New Evidence Released in Oil Spill Settlement Debacle Leaves Another Black Eye on Louisiana’s Legal Reputation
New data and information surfacing about the claims administrator for the Gulf oil spill settlement, Patrick Juneau, raise serious questions about whether he merits serving in this role.
Many of our public pension systems operate outside the laws of reason and are usually motivated more by political interests than practical economics.
What if the states could advance and ratify a powerful federal balanced budget amendment in just twelve months? It could happen with a new approach to state-originated amendments under Article V of the United States Constitution.
With the coming expansion in the energy, manufacturing, and construction sectors and an aging population, Louisiana’s impending labor shortfall can only be exacerbated by excluding a large section of the prospective workforce: ex-offenders.
The nation’s older inmate population is expected to increase exponentially again over the next decade, with associated health costs spiraling higher.
The Louisiana Legislature kicked off the 2014 regular session last week, beginning a series of discussions about the most important issues facing the state. Already it is clear that lawsuit reform will be front and center in the debate.
New Report Explains Why Globalizing Louisiana’s Natural Gas Revolution Makes Economic and Environmental Sense
Exporting U.S. natural gas could achieve the dual benefits of global climate-change mitigation and local/national economic development.
Louisiana faces real vulnerabilities and cannot afford to see funds misused on projects that do not advance the act’s goals. This opportunity to accomplish something good out of the BP disaster should not be squandered.
Smart on Sentencing, Smart on Crime: An Argument for Reforming Louisiana’s Determinate Sentencing Laws
A new study details how Louisiana can reduce its prison population and corrections spending without lessening public safety by eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders and reforming its habitual offender law.
In a recent survey of Louisiana businesses conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, 89 percent of business owners said the number of frivolous lawsuits in the state is a serious problem.
It is appalling that a federal agency charged with protecting our civil rights would use its considerable powers to deny Louisiana children access to a better education.
The view from Robert Mann’s ivory tower in Baton Rouge does not offer a clear perspective on the educational successes unfolding in New Orleans and around our state.
These population demographic traits, coupled with negative patterns of population gain/loss, should be of real and current concern to state policy makers.
Reforms made after the storm have transformed the New Orleans public education system, with the most notable of these changes dubbed the “charter school revolution.”
Louisiana’s economic prospects are mediocre, according to a new report released by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which ranked the 50 states according to their economic outlook in 2013.
Like New Orleans, Jefferson’s reforms are now bearing fruit. And like New Orleans, Jefferson benefits from leadership that places students above special interests. Here are five reasons why approving a new CBA would stymie momentum and risk recent gains.
Thumbtack.com, in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, has released the second-annual Thumbtack.com Small Business Friendliness Survey showing that small businesses rated Louisiana among the most business friendly states, particularly in terms of its training programs and labor regulations.
Lawsuit lenders often offer loans to consumers with hidden fees and sky-high interest rates that can range between 60-150 percent annually. To put that in perspective, the average annual percentage rate on a credit card is 13.3 percent.
Louisiana has once again earned the dubious distinction of having the most expensive auto insurance rates in the country.
Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida all border the Gulf of Mexico and between these five states alone they have passed nearly 1,000 laws criminalizing various coastal activities.
Act 2 moved Louisiana forward from an anachronistic model of education into a student-centric one that allows each child to master her learning before she moves on to another concept. It is an important model for the nation that puts the emphasis on learning outcomes and student success.
In Louisiana alone, over $60 billion in new manufacturing investments have been announced over the past 24 months: the justification of which are all tied to abundant U.S. unconventional natural gas supplies.
With astonishing multi-million dollar verdicts being rendered nearly every other week, and laws and judges that seem to give plaintiffs the upper hand in legal proceedings regardless of the facts of the case—it is no wonder that we’ve become a regular on the Hellholes watch list.
Many Americans are now looking to state legislatures to step in and take the lead in amending the Constitution to curb the Congress’ outrageous spending problem.
Louisiana’s public schools put themselves in a precarious position by hiring more teachers and administrative personnel, even while the number of students declined. Generous pension and benefit plans have exacerbated this problem.
It is widely expected that tax reform will be the Jindal administration’s primary goal in the 2013 Louisiana legislative session. In a recent Advocate report, Tim Barfield from the Department of Revenue addressed the need for reform, pointing out that it is the “sticker price” and not the actual tax burden that is hampering “Louisiana’s efforts to attract businesses.”
Teacher union challenges to real education reform continue to exist, though often in ways that are not measurable or reportable. If you dig deeper, the unions’ power and influence, particularly at the local school district level, remain strong in this state, challenging education reform efforts at every step of the electoral, legislative and policy implementation processes.
Elections have consequences, for better or for worse. And while most voters are focusing on the Presidential election this November, there is another political battle brewing that has the potential to dramatically impact the state of Louisiana’s legal climate.
The proposed Labor Department budget for fiscal year 2013 includes money for 35 new investigators to dig through business records and go after employers and employees who contract independently.
The report provides information and data about scholarship students, scholarship schools and scholarship savings. The report also provides a timeline of implementation since the landmark legislation was signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal earlier this year.
Although food stamp participation rates typically increase during a recession, a new study demonstrates that the rate of growth between 2008 and 2012 is unique.
When it comes to the very important issue of legal reform, we are worlds apart. Despite the fact that residents in both Louisiana and Texas share the common goals of creating jobs and cutting down on lawsuit abuse, we have chosen remarkably different paths to address these issues.
It is no surprise that this policy comes out of Louisiana, a state that has led the way in school choice innovation. Most notably, Louisiana is home to the Recovery School District (RSD), which was created following Hurricane Katrina. The disaster was used as an opportunity to reinvent the traditional school district in New Orleans.
The new system of evaluating teacher effectiveness often includes “value-added” data that measures the extra value a teacher adds to a student’s standardized test score. Value-added data offers an objective measure of teacher effectiveness that did not previously exist.
In a stunning move, attorneys representing the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) have threatened litigation against schools participating in the state’s voucher program.
Unemployment remains a major concern throughout the state of Louisiana and the nation as a whole. While the jobs situation in Louisiana is somewhat better than the national average, the unemployment rate for working-age teens (16-19) is astronomical and bodes ill for the future of Louisiana’s youth.
Supporters of the law argue that states should move quickly to create state insurance exchanges in order to ensure a higher level of state control, but this notion is an illusion. The law’s provisions would actually require Louisiana and its citizens to cede decision-making power to the federal government.
Is Louisiana’s top law-enforcement officer violating the law by hiring private plaintiffs attorneys to pursue litigation on behalf of the state? That’s the fundamental question raised by the recent actions of Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.
Although the Supreme Court let most of the ACA stand, Louisiana policymakers can still play an important role in the health care reform debate. Most importantly, they should refuse to expand the state’s Medicaid rolls and take a wait-and-see approach to state insurance exchanges.
Thousands of school voucher applicants who want to exit unsafe, ineffective public schools made history on Friday. That was the deadline for eligible families to apply for scholarship funds that can be used to cover the cost of private school tuition.
The issue of higher education salaries has caught the attention of state Rep. Simone Champagne, R-Erath. She passed a resolution this session requesting that the Board of Regents “study executive compensation at the university system offices and boards.” The final report is due to lawmakers in early February 2013.
The complex nature of the retirement system tends to obscure the importance of pension reform. This has contributed to an unfortunate lack of urgency over the years. But while the details can appear daunting, the crux of the matter is simple: Louisiana has promised its retirees more than it can deliver.
By building on existing research from the Louisiana Sentencing Commission and following key principles that have guided successful reforms in Texas and other states, Louisiana policymakers can take the next steps to enhance public safety in the state and control costs borne by taxpayers.
As an alternative to the “draconian Jindal approach” to education reform, the state’s teachers unions have offered up legislation that would revoke value-added teacher assessments, reinstate tenure and empower school boards over superintendents.
Last week the Louisiana Budget Project (LBP) published a response to our critique of the health insurance exchange proposed by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson in SB744. We have reviewed their arguments in favor of the exchange and find them unpersuasive.
Louisiana should not devote resources to a program it won’t control and may soon be rendered obsolete This evening, Louisiana’s Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to hear SB744. This bill would require Louisiana to create an “exchange” to facilitate the purchase and sale of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as…
On Monday, Louisiana’s House of Representatives is expected to vote on HB 1095. This bill would make Louisiana party to the National Popular Vote (NPV) “compact” whereby state electors would pledge to cast their votes to the presidential candidate receiving the most votes nationwide, regardless of the results in Louisiana. Here are six reasons why legislators should reject this attempt to jettison our electoral system.
Louisiana lawmakers are set to take up “payroll protection” bills that would prohibit public school officials from automatically deducting worker dues for political purposes. The proposals figure into a larger national movement built around state initiatives.
Critics of Governor Jindal’s proposed “cash balance” pension plan for state employees have made a number of inaccurate claims. The current retirement systems have amassed an astonishing $18.9 billion in unfunded liabilities, but reform opponents defend the status quo with scare tactics while relying on a flawed report from the Legislative Auditor.
LA House Civil Law & Procedure Committee to Consider the Measure Monday By Melissa Landry After more than 40 years of asbestos litigation, most of the companies responsible for asbestos exposure in the workplace have gone out of business. Many would say that’s a good thing. They might also argue that the massive trust system…
Folded within the tenure reform bill Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed into law are several changes to local school governance designed to constrain school boards and empower superintendents. These reforms could be extended to include term limits for school board members in the current session.
Louisiana’s transformative education policy changes should be extended to include school bus drivers who enjoy tenure protections unavailable in other states, according to Rep. Cameron Henry (R-Jefferson) and business representatives.
The top 10 things you need to know heading into Louisiana’s historic retirement debates. By JEREMY ALFORD Know this: the stakes are high. More than 60,000 state employees would be affected by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed pension changes. And legislators, many still reeling from the drama associated with the governor’s landmark education reforms, are wondering…
In response to a “Dear Friend” letter Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) sent to constituents reiterating her support for President Obama’s health care law, one of her Republican counterparts is calling for an “incremental” approach to health care reform that expands consumer choice and lowers costs
Rep. Tony Ligi (R-Metaire) would like for taxpayers to have a seat at the table when public employee unions negotiate with government officials over the size and scope of their compensation and benefit package.
School boards should have the option to explore the possibility of privatizing food services as part of a larger effort aimed at maximizing classroom resources, Sen. Jack Donahue (R-Covington) and business representatives are set to argue this week
Louisiana taxpayers and consumers stand to benefit from pending legislation that would lower the current threshold set for civil jury trials to the point where it is more in step with the national average, according to tort reform proponents.
Are the attorneys and plaintiffs who file lawsuits built around oilfield contamination allegations genuinely concerned about environmental damage? Or, are they instead motivated by a loophole in the law that allows for financial awards to be detached from cleanup efforts?
By a nearly 2-1 margin, it found strong backing for Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to expand the Student Scholarship for Educational Excellence Program — a limited voucher plan launched in 2008. The Student Scholarship for Educational Excellence Program currently serves 1,912 students. It offers vouchers which average $4,863 each to low-income pupils in New Orleans in grades K-6 only.
As the Louisiana Legislature kicked off with a bang this week, the political stage has been set for a series of historic battles that could drastically impact the direction of the state. While we can expect school choice, pension reform and some of Governor Bobby Jindal’s other top priorities to command media headlines, there is a quiet battle brewing over legacy lawsuits that could be just as important.
Politically active union leaders should refrain from separating teachers from their classroom responsibilities with standardized testing set to begin, business representatives and reform proponents are arguing in response to recent school board actions
Even if legislation aimed at converting the Orleans Parish scholarship program into a statewide school voucher system prevails over intense opposition, it will remain limited in scope, according to key lawmakers and top education officials who favor the policy change.
Study Shows Louisiana Students Can Benefit from More School Choice Statewide scholarships are contributing to rising test scores in Florida BATON ROUGE—As state lawmakers arrive in Baton Rouge next week, one of the first issues they’ll discuss is Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education reform plan to expand school vouchers statewide. In considering such an expansion, two…
Superintendents and principals should have greater latitude over personnel decisions and instructional material, according to lawmakers and activists who support Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education agenda.
Should Louisiana primarily export or import the vast natural gas supplies that have been harvested in just the past few years? This question was explored at the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA) annual meeting held in New Orleans last week.
Tenure reform should be linked to a new teacher evaluation system set to go into effect later this year that makes use of student test scores, according to Gov. Bobby Jindal and top figures in education and business who back his reform package.
In his 2012 State of the Union address President Obama defends his personal convictions regarding the role of the government by twisting Lincoln’s own words on this matter. Lincoln did not say, “government should do for the people only what they cannot do better for themselves.” Rather, he said “in all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, the government ought not to interfere.”
Lakefront Arena at the University of New Orleans will be at the focal point of national attention this coming Saturday as it plays host to an event that marks the beginning of National School Choice Week.
Instead of bowing down to green pressure groups that greatly overstate the environmental risks attached to natural gas production, policymakers in the northeast should look toward Louisiana as a model for economic renewal, industry and government officials recommend.
Medicaid costs continued to rise in 2011, consuming a greater percentage of overall state spending. This was a result of federal stimulus money, heightened health care expenses and increased enrollment.
Louisiana made the cut this year on an exclusive list, but this is not good news for business owners and consumers who have a stake in energy exploration and production.
Concerned citizens are invited to visit the Louisiana Lawsuit Abuse Watch (LLAW) group online where they can select their top choice for the most outrageous lawsuit of the year. But it will be not be easy, Melissa Landry, the group’s executive director, points out.
With the advent of unconventional drilling methods, the global energy balance is shifting, and the U.S. could soon find itself at the top of list of the world’s oil and gas producing countries.
Although Louisiana may have the widest wage gap in the country, many academics point to factors other than discrimination that account for the apparent wage gap.
President Obama’s Justice Department is “philosophically opposed” to enforcing a federal law that calls for registration rolls to be purged of ineligible voters, an election law attorney said during a recent forum at Tulane Law School.
Louisiana’s expensive auto insurance rates are symptomatic of public policy favored by trial lawyers that typically result in anti-business settlements, according to a citizen watchdog group that favors new legislation.
We believe that voters should support this amendment and vote Yes on Saturday. While there is no doubt that policymakers have been challenged by recent budget shortfalls, most taxpayers face challenges of their own. These taxpayers must live within their means and we believe that policymakers should do the same.
U.S. Department of Interior officials manipulated and altered summary language attached to report to make it appear as though engineers endorsed the Gulf moratorium when in fact they had not, an Inspector General investigation has concluded.
A new study by former LSU Professor Dr. Loren Scott details how dependent Louisiana is on the oil and gas industry, and warns that national politics targeting the industry could disrupt one of the state’s key economic drivers.
A grant meant to spread broadband internet to rural Louisiana has been rescinded on the grounds that it would crowd out private businesses.
Test scores that measure the progress students make each year will now be used as part of a new evaluation system that determines how effective teachers are in the classroom. But not everyone with a stake in the public education system is pleased with the change.
Big spenders in Congress who continue to inflate the national debt at the expense of future generations could be brought to heel if a Louisiana resolution in favor of a proposed constitutional amendment continues to catch on in other states.
The long-awaited permit gives BP the green light to begin drilling a 6,034-foot exploratory well off the coast of Louisiana in BP’s prolific Kaskida Field.
A recent Tax Foundation study contends that the unemployment insurance system is in need of an overhaul, as the current system “[exacerbates] negative job growth”.
Even as they differ over the merits and defects of health care exchanges, state officials from across party lines continue to express concern over the regulatory uncertainty attached to ObamaCare.
Strong performing charter schools in the Recovery School District (RSD) make a compelling case for even greater decentralization in Louisiana’s education system, according to the proponents of student based budgeting.
Are business interests plotting to take over the public education system and turn a profit at the expense of the public? That is the charge leading figures within the Coalition for Public Education have aimed against Gov. Bobby Jindal and the school board candidates who favor charter schools.
President Obama’s health care, banking and stimulus all include controversial quota requirements that run counter to long-standing American principles of equality.
Once the initial government subsidies end, states would be left to pay for the mammoth costs of a higher-speed version of the failing Amtrak model.
A new study by the Louisiana Workforce Commission suggests that Louisiana will see a surge in green jobs in the next 10 years.
Letter grades that show a sizable percentage of Louisiana public schools are either failing or under-performing continue to generate controversy. A union-led coalition warns against Gov. Jindal’s privatization agenda, while a business group says the unions fear transparency and accountability.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana has ordered the federal government to pay $1.67 million to an employee of Canal Refinery, a Louisiana firm that processes used oil.
ven as the Obama administration postures on behalf of deficit reduction and job creation, it continues to advance policies that undermine energy production in the Gulf region and lower federal revenue, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has pointed out in his correspondence with top officials in Washington D.C.
The government’s track record would lead many to believe that it is incapable of efficiently permitting millions of new wells that will be drilled and hydraulically fractured in the coming decades.
A recent survey that shows a substantial majority of Louisiana voters favor tort reform could serve as a catalyst for bipartisan legislation next year aimed at alleviating costly litigation practices, according to top officials with citizen watchdog groups and business advocacy organizations.
Republicans did not do enough to advance free market reforms within the health care system when they last controlled both houses of Congress, some of the medical doctors who now serve in the House have said. Rep. Fleming and Rep. Cassidy are both calling for reforms built around “price transparency.”
21.6 percent of Louisianans are living in poverty, the second highest in the country, while the average household income has decreased 13% since 2009.
Louisiana’s experiment with charter schools could be restrained and limited if the right mix of candidates running for the state’s top school board seats do not prevail in this year’s election, warn industry officials who are backing several newcomers and three incumbents.
Don Briggs comments on the Obama Administration’s plan to repeal vital tax incentives for oil and gas industry and raise taxes on those making over $250,000 per year.
Up to 20 oil rigs could leave the Gulf of Mexico, in addition to the 11 that have already left, since the Obama Administration imposed a moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling in May 2010. Sen. Vitter asks about the impact on small business, and the cost of green lawsuits in letter to feds.
In August, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), in partnership with Crossroads GPS, launched the Big Labor vs. Taxpayers Index, which measures the power and influence union bosses wield in each state.
Unelected bureaucrats could be empowered with unchecked authority to set rates for Medicare reimbursement and block access to prescription drugs, a new lawsuit against ObamaCare warns.
A proposal backed by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) would allow Louisiana and other producing states to keep a 37.5 percent share of oil and gas revenues that would otherwise fall into federal coffers.
Job creation can flourish and we can incentivize businesses to take risks in a system of low tax structure and limited burdensome regulations.
The formation of independent public school districts within our parish offers a proven solution to the educational problems facing Louisiana.
Union-backed school board candidates who oppose school choice initiatives, teacher evaluations, heightened curriculum standards, the abolition of tenure and other policy changes could face strong opposition this fall. All eight of the elected seats on the 11 member Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) are open to primary challenges.
Online charter schools that are new to Louisiana are in position to help democratize education and offer specialized learning experiences that may not be available in traditional classroom settings.
Conclusive evidence continues to suggest that renewable energy projects and so-called “green” jobs have not lived up to the economic potential that politicians have promised.
Like Texas, Louisiana needs to adopt an aggressive pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda that will help stop lawsuit abuse and help businesses put people back to work.
Louisiana is beset with some of the most economically damaging regulations that flow out of Washington D.C, according to industry representatives and public policy analysts. They cite anti-energy policies, union favoritism and ObamaCare mandates as the primary culprits.
The debate over whether to build a high-speed rail line spanning 80 miles between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is heating up.
The Budget Control Act of 2011 puts Louisiana’s oil and gas industry in a vulnerable position.
A dispute over the merits and potential defects of health care exchange systems continued to rage last week at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) annual meeting in New Orleans as state officials expressed concern over ObamaCare’s Medicaid mandates.
The American natural gas boom will cause the U.S. to dethrone Russia as the world’s leading supplier of natural gas, and will continue to bring jobs to Louisiana, according to a new study.
ACORN’s Project Vote affiliate has joined with the NAACP to advance a “motor voter” lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration in tandem with a separate filing from President Obama’s Justice Department. Louisiana government officials deny the allegations and vow to fight both suits.
Louisiana public pension funds sought to withdraw $143 million from Fletcher Asset Management earlier this week, but were presented with IOUs in lieu of cash, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.
Libertarians with the Cato Institute ardently endorse Gov. Bobby Jindal’s resistance to health care exchanges that could be used to implement ObamaCare regulations. But other Republicans say the exchanges can be used to advance free market reforms.
A year after the drilling ban was ordered, we should ask ourselves some very important questions. What was the purpose of the moratorium and was it necessary?
Ten oil rigs have left the Gulf of Mexico since the Obama Administration imposed a moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling in May 2010 documentation from Sen. David Vitter’s (R-La.) office shows. Companies will not recommit themselves to the Gulf region until the “political uncertainty” recedes.
Louisiana’s House Republicans were united in their support of the “Cut, Cap and Balance” legislation that passed last night. It faces a tough road in the upper chamber where Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has criticized his colleagues for backing down to President Obama
The study projects a loss of approximately $341 billion in economic output, 155,000 jobs, and $68 billion in wages- catastrophic numbers in any circumstances.
Sen. David Vitter’s amendment to defund existing czar positions and block new appointments to these positions without congressional approval fell just short in June. But it attracted bipartisan support and will be used as a model for future legislation
Cuts to entitlement programs could be the first steps to getting our fiscal house back into some sort of order.
Under a proposed constitutional amendment, at least 5 percent of surplus funds must be used to pay down unfunded accrued liabilities that existed as of June 30, 1988 for the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement Systems (LASERS) and the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana (TRSL).
The Department of Energy has awarded Louisiana State University $997,000 for a project to evaluate the feasibility of an advanced geothermal energy project.
467,000 new enrollees will be added in our state under the new health care law. This will even further strain efforts of patients to gain access to quality care while further exacerbating Louisiana’s fiscal crisis.
The Louisiana legislature has been criticized for cutting statewide funding for the arts. Pelican Institute president Kevin Kane argues that Louisiana’s cultural heritage is better protected by voluntary support and private enterprise than by government subsidies.
Over the span of this year, thirteen states, including Louisiana, have passed school choice legislation, while 28 states have pending legislation.
American Legislative Exchange Council claims that states with lower and falling tax burdens are attracting businesses and spurring job growth.
A new state ranking for assets relative to liabilities, released this week, finds Louisiana to be the second most indebted state in the South. Despite a balanced budget requirement, Louisiana has still managed to acquire $21 billion more in liabilities than it has assets to offset them.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu has requested limited removal of seniority privileges from consideration in city lay-offs, and the local chapter of the Service Employees International Union is unimpressed.
New report gives Louisiana an “F” for human capital – a measure of the labor force’s education and skills – for a third year in a row.
Don Briggs: It is a simple fact that shale gas resources in the U.S. are real and abundant, and natural gas production in the U.S. is at an all-time high.
Rep. Tony Ligi made every effort to pass legislation that would allow for greater public scrutiny of collective bargaining agreements between union officials and government agencies. His efforts fell short this time around but they have attracted national attention and will be revisited in Louisiana.
Despite higher job numbers, Louisiana’s unemployment rate increased by 12 percent from May 2010 to May 2011. Louisianians are also staying on unemployment insurance longer.
Policy differences within Louisiana’s Republican Party complicated efforts to pay down the unfunded accrued liabilities (UALs) within the state’s retirement funds. Rep. Kevin Pearson’s (R-Slidell) was defeated in the Senate Retirement Committee on Sunday.
While all five of the proposals out of the Sentencing Commission passed, the most controversial received amendments to water them down. Dana Kaplan (pictured) of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana spoke with The Pelican Post and assessed what the outcome means for Louisiana.
Achieving a highly improbable turnaround, Rep. Noble Ellington’s (R-Winnsboro) resolution for an anti-debt amendment to the U.S. Constitution won approval from the Louisiana Senate yesterday.
Over the past few years, the Republican Party has shifted more the direction of Rep. Ron Paul’s libertarian positions, according to some the political activists who attended the Republican Leadership Conference (RLC) in New Orleans. The Texas Republican was among the speakers.
With festive music and diverse protestors, Women with a Vision led a peaceful march against what the organization describes as a trillion dollar “abject failure”—the now forty-year-old war on drugs.
Fergus Hodgson provides an overview of tax policy changes within the current legislative session.
The American Enterprise Institute has released a working paper stating the federal compensation premium compared to private compensation is approximately 61 percent.
Only four members of Louisiana’s House of Representatives voted against legislation that blocks state government officials from mandating Project Labor Agreements (PLA) on construction projects. The bill also passed the Senate with bipartisan support. PLAs locked out non-union construction shops from the bidding process, industry representatives have argued.
Rep. Brett Geymann’s anti-spending resolution remains in effect after a counter-measure from Rep. Erich Ponti (R-Baton Rouge) was withdrawn Tuesday. This means “one-time” money cannot be used to balance the budget without a 2/3 vote of approval from House lawmakers
Despite smooth sailing in the House, the National Debt Relief Amendment came to an abrupt halt this morning. Sen. Karen Peterson (D-New Orleans) came out aggressively against it, and without objection she had it deferred in its Senate committee hearing.
Rep. Tony Ligi (R-Metaire) continues to fight for transparency in collective bargaining agreements. His legislation was “involuntarily deferred” in the House earlier this month but has been reloaded into amendment the Senate Education Committee will consider today.
Legislation that would preclude state government officials from mandating Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on construction projects is scheduled for a vote today in the House. PLAS have been criticized for favoring union over non-union shops.
“A basic analysis of our public school system’s core metrics argues loudly against any additional revenue, and in favor of much lower spending.”
Don Briggs: We can overcome many of our economic woes simply by allowing American oil and gas businesses to flourish.
Pelican President, Kevin Kane, advocates cost-saving approaches adopted successfully by other states.
A Jindal-backed House resolution to reinstate one-time money to cover current budgetary expenses is up for debate today in the House.
With not a single opponent, Louisiana’s House of Representatives has endorsed the National Debt Relief Amendment and its call for a state-initiated amendment to the United States Constitution.
A sophisticated analysis of freedom across state lines finds Louisiana the least free of the former confederate states and in the bottom third of the nation.
Rep. Kevin Pearson’s retirement reform bill passed the Louisiana House by a comfortable, bipartisan margin on Monday. His legislation provides for a readjustment of the final average compensation (FAC) for state employees that would be used to pay down unfunded accrued liabilities.
HB 531, which was passed unanimously by the House, would create the Lafayette Parish Redevelopment Authority, which would approve local government use of future property, sales, and other taxes to pay back debt-funded development of “blighted” or “distressed” areas.
Rep. Toni Ligi’s attempt to bring greater openness and transparency to the collective bargaining process will have to wait at least one more year. His bill failed in a House committee by just one vote.
‘Loser pays’ laws will severly hamper the will of parties to engage in baseless, cash-grabbing lawsuits.
Federal agencies that have unilaterally curtailed energy production in the Gulf of Mexico should obtain congressional approval before any new regulations are implemented, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has argued on the Senate floor.
SB 61, which has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, would give the legislature power to limit the amount of damages and losses for medical or health care providers as a result of malpractice.
HB 641 – better known as the Amazon tax – would reclassify out-of-state companies as in-state if they receive commissioned referrals from in-state affiliates.
Don Briggs of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association says Louisiana is uniquely positioned to respond to higher gasoline prices and shift to natural gas.
As an alternative to the pension reform legislation favored by Gov. Bobby Jindal, the House Committee on Retirement has voted to move a bill to the floor the includes an across the board increase in state employee pension contributions that would be used to pay down unfunded accumulated liabilities.
Louisiana’s House of Representatives voted to pass Rep. Brett Geymann’s Resolution 27 on Monday, which is designed to block allocation of “one-time” non-recurring money as a way to plug budget gaps. Geymann says his legislation will help force meaningful spending cuts. Gov. Bobby Jindal disagrees.
Instead of allowing a Senate Committee to kill a bill that otherwise stands a strong chance of passing the full Senate, supporters of Health Care Compacts have decided to voluntarily defer their legislation until the next session.
North Dakota Senator Curtis Olafson (R – Edinburg), who flew in to testify as national spokesman, was met with as many welcomes and jokes as he was with questions.
Sadow: “With little disruption Louisiana could wipe out its corporate income tax in a little over a year… economic activity set off by the elimination of these would swell the state coffers by other means.”
In the face of unsustainable federal debt, Congress and the President appear unwilling and impotent to do anything about it. Robert J. Thorpe contends that the states must initiate a limit on spending, such as the National Debt Relief Amendment, via an Article V amendments convention.
The Pelican Institute has released three pieces of research to clear the air over the National Debt Relief Amendment and other Article V amendments. Escalating debt and an unrestrained federal government suggest the time is overdue for a state-initiated amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Tea Party activists joined with Sen. Elbert Guillory (D-Opelousas) last week to testify in favor of legislation to suspend federal health care regulations and empower state officials. Guillory’s bill would enable Louisiana to enter into Health Care Compacts (HCCs) with other states.
Controversial litigation practices built around environmental remediation claims would be limited under proposed legislation that a House committee voted to defer on Wednesday. Supporters say current law needs to be clarified to prevent “legacy lawsuits” from driving business out of state
Rep. Austin Badon’s (D – Orleans) HB 112 seeks to prohibit the harassment, intimidation, and bullying of students in Louisiana’s public school districts. The proposal would strengthen a 2001 law that mandated all Louisiana public schools include a policy in their student code of conduct to prohibit bullying.
Louisiana’s stand as the nation’s leader for incarceration is the target of five new bills from the state’s Sentencing Commission.
Kevin Kane: The B.R. Advocate’s Lenny Keller has described the Louisiana legislature as ultraconservative – but it just ain’t so.
The Pelican Institute’s transparency site is shining light on generous overtime pay for state employees, and a local news channel has latched onto the finding.
In a legislative session filled with bills to heavily alter Louisiana’s higher education system, students of public universities and colleges may soon experience one more adjustment: concealed weapons on campus.
Sen. DA “Butch” Gautreaux is moving legislation aimed at forcing charter schools to remain within Louisiana’s underfunded teachers’ retirement system. This is part of a concerted effort to undermine and cripple the charter school system, critics say
Don Briggs weighs in on the debate at the federal level. His view: burdening suppliers will do anything but lower gas prices.
Arizona’s controversial immigration law is coming to Louisiana, at least if Rep. Ernest Wooton’s (I – Belle Chasse) “Louisiana Citizens Protection Act” passes. The bill specifically targets people who hire day laborers off the streets,.
MPERS gambled with public money, and lost. If this were a private company, these disastrous mistakes would surely result in bankruptcy.
Illegal immigrants are set to find work with state contractors harder to come by. That is if employers participate in the federal government’s E-Verify program, as new legislation would mandate.
Pending legislation would allow Louisiana high school students to take online classes. Sen. Gerald Long (R-Winnfield) has been the major driving force behind the bill. He believes virtual classrooms will help to “level the playing field” for all Louisiana students and provide advanced instruction.
Rep. Tony Ligi (R-Metairie) is advancing new legislation that would make it possible for taxpayers to review the cost of collective bargaining agreements. The negotiations between public employers and labor unions would full under the Open Meetings Law
Jeffrey Sadow reflects on the initiatives of Paul Pastorek: He leaves “the state’s elementary and secondary education system better off and with promise that necessary reforms may continue under his successor.”
Louisiana employers impacted by the British Petroleum oil spill last April are set to be relieved from the costs connected with unemployment benefits. Sen. Neil Riser (R-Columbia) has introduced SB 121, which would alleviate the financial burden for innocent third parties.
Even with the accumulation of unfunded pension liabilities – now $30 billion and counting — some state lawmakers have introduced bills that would expand government benefits.
Several states, including Louisiana, are stepping up the fight against the latest designer drugs – synthetic cannabinoids and bath salts – in the wake of high call volumes to poison control centers in recent years.
Jeffrey Sadow projects that “right-sizing” this area would save the state an annual $60 million and not harm quality of employee health care. It would also shed up to 300 state employees.
Higher admission standards for Louisiana’s colleges are set to all but wipe out the student body of Southern University at New Orleans, since almost 80 percent of current students would no longer qualify.
New Orleans Annual Operating Budget indicates that the city government has increased its reliance on revenue from red light and speed cameras to cover holes in the operating budget. Revenue from red light cameras, for example, has increased from $3.4 million in 2008 to an projected $18 million in 2011, an increase of 419 percent.
The drastic mismanagement and squandering of resources highlights the need to greatly scale back the operations of the Crescent City Connection Division.
Jeffrey Sadow contends that Jindal has received unjustified and misleading criticism over his pledge against tax increases.
Sen. Elbert Guillory (D-Opelousas) has introduced a bill that would make possible for Louisiana to join with other states in forming a Health Care Compact (HCC). The idea is to move the responsibility and authority for shaping health care policy back to the states and away from the federal government.
Edward Ashworth and Andrew Muhl argue in favor of increasing the state’s cigarette tax, and the authors claim that this tax hike would be overwhelmingly popular, but Gov. Jindal opposes it for reasons of political expediency.
Rep. Norton has reintroduced the Equal Pay for Women Act, which would give the state power to correct and eliminate discriminatory wage practices based on sex for “comparable” work. However, various academics claim that the the male-female wage gap has little to do with discrimination, and more so with job preferences.
The reality is government wants more revenue, and taxes on tobacco prey on the vulnerable and burden the poor. As these revenue streams become perpetuated and critical, elected leaders give moral approval to the exploitation of addiction.
Sen. Danny Martiny (R-Metaire) has introduced legislation that would ban state government officials from mandating Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on publicly funded construction projects, which are backed by organized labor. PLAs boost construction costs and undermine competition, studies show.
If the Obama Administration actually favored increased production in the Gulf of Mexico, it would be happening Don Briggs, president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA) told audience members at luncheon held in New Orleans. “Louisiana is the Aorta of America,” he said in his talk. But a change in Administration is needed.
Although the Obama Administration claims the U.S. is in an economic recovery, evidenced by a fall in the official unemployment rate, the employment-to-population ratio, is now lower than it was when the recession officially ended. Additionally, since 2009 the number of people who have been out of work for more than six months has increased 40 percent.
Contrary to rosy assessments from high profile publications and the Obama Administration, the owner of Laborde Marine reveals the uncounted devastation from the shut-down of rig operations in the Gulf of Mexico.
Although organized labor has been supportive of ObamaCare, many of these same union organizations have sought and received exemptions from the law’s consumer protection provisions for their own health care plans. The list includes the Louisiana Laborers Health and Welfare Fund, the Louisiana Electrical Health Fund, and the Louisiana Carpenters Regional Fund.
Taxpayers are covering 56 percent of the pension plan contributions for Louisiana State Troopers. Moreover, a portion of the fee residents pay for their driver’s license is also used to help fund the police retirement plan. At a time when rising liabilities threaten the stability of the entire state pension system, state troopers should not be excluded from policy changes, and NFIB official says.
As the most likely alternative to federal income taxes, the Fair Tax merits understanding, and Laura O’Halloran of FairTax.org met with The Pelican Post for an exclusive interview.
Jeffrey Sadow has unearthed data, from Louisiana Economic Development’s own commissioned report, that reveals misleading and self-serving messages about the efficacy of tax credits.
Academics are raising concerns over parallels between events leading up to the housing crisis and the current state of the higher education system. Concerns are over the costs of a college education rising as a result of lax lending standards and artificially low interest rates for government subsidized loans.
On Saturday, the Shreveport Times ran an op-ed coauthored by Kevin Kane of the Pelican Institute and Mark Levin of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. They note that the Bayou State has the highest incarceration rate per capita in the United States, and an address of criminal justice reform is overdue.
Louisiana lawmakers are in position to enact meaningful free market health care reforms that will expand consumer choice and help lower costs. It would be a mistake for state officials to wait for a final ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.
As the state legislature prepares to go back into session, some critics of the horizontal well severance tax incentive now say the program should be eliminated to help close the budget gap. But, a new study from the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association concludes the state would lose out over the long-term if the incentive is removed.
Tulane University Peace Action Committee (TUPAC) hosted a panel, “Sodexo Workers Speak Out,” that offered a worker’s inside-view which questioned Sodexo’s standards and practices.
The National Debt Relief Amendment, which would mandate state approval before increases in the federal debt limit, has now passed in North Dakota. At least seven other states have equivalent resolutions either pending or with pledged sponsors, for what would be the first ever state initiated amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The monks of St. Joseph Abbey have just won a victory in their case against economic protectionism from the state. They have been unable to produce simple caskets, facing fines, but the Institute for Justice has taken their defense in what is set to be a landmark case.
Democratic leaders are hounding the Ryan budget for its supposed severity and ideologically-driven agenda. Yet it is the most serious effort to curb record deficits and debts, by either party, in decades.
Governor Jindal’s plan to privatize three state prisons has received criticism from legislators who believe the move is shortsighted, while a study suggests that policies seeking to send more lawbreakers to prison is the cause of Louisiana’s overcrowding problem.
On ObamaCare’s one year anniversary, it is now evident that Louisiana residents will be forced off their private insurance and onto Medicaid. Louisiana health officials have also concluded that implementation will cost $7 billion over a 10-year period.
The Tax Foundation states that the 2011 Tax Freedom Day will fall on April 12th. However, if the federal government were to collect enough taxes to finance all of its spending – $1.48 trillion more in tax revenue – that would extend Tax Freedom day to May 23rd, the latest deficit-inclusive Tax Freedom Day since World War II.
To address New Orleans’ illiteracy and lack of access to solutions, Loyola University hosted, “Engaging Literacy: Research to Policy to Practice.” This introduced a new national project against illiteracy, with a focus here in Louisiana.
An international comparative study that measures the protection of physical and intellectual property rights ranked the U.S. 18th overall, down from 16th in 2010 and 14th in 2007. The U.S. physical property rights rank fell to 25th, behind countries such as Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.
State lawmakers were not thinking about long term costs when they passed a law back in 1999 that allowed for taxpayers to pick up all or part of the tab for employee contributions to a local pension plan. Pension reform proposals will be up for discussion in the upcoming state legislative session
2011 is set to be the first year that federal aid becomes the largest component of state revenues. Already 27 states, including Louisiana, rely on federal aid as their primary source of funding, but the report’s author describes this year’s level as a critical breaking point.
Republican House members introduce the Welfare Reform Act of 2011, which is set to expand the reforms of the mid-1990s. The reform comes on the heels of U.S. Census Bureau data showing one in seven Americans live at or below the poverty line.
Rep. Kevin Pearson (R-Slidell) has proposed an across-the-board increase in pension contributions from state workers that would include police officers, judges and university professors. He credits Gov. Bobby Jindal for calling attention to the challenge of rising liabilities, but favors changes that are not limited to the “rank-and-file” workers.
One year after ObamaCare was signed into law, Gov. Bobby Jindal has stated that Louisiana will not set up an exchange system that enables the new insurance regulations. By taking a firm stand, Jindal could inspire other governors who recognize that the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn the regulation.
President Obama announced he has no plan to reduce federal education funding, and instead seeks to revise No Child Left Behind and expand his education plan, Race to the Top.
LSU-Shreveport political science professor, Jeffrey Sadow, explains the confusing and blurred constraints of Louisiana’s resdistricting.
A new ranking of admissions standards has LSU below all flagship universities in the Deep South. The study author contends consequently lower graduation rates, less desirable faculty, and poorer quality research.
A Northwestern University study claims that Louisiana’s pension system will be insolvent by 2017. Louisiana’s largest pension program dismisses claims as “misleading”.
United States Public Interest Research Group study ranks Louisiana’s “LaTrac” in the top five for government transparency websites.
Lawmakers in both parties have been critical of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to increase state employee contributions to the pension plan. In reality, his plan is quite restrained in comparison to other states and some supporters argue that should go even further.
Sen. David Vitter has called out top Obama Administration officials for misleading the public and members of Congress on the actual number of offshore oil drilling permits. A recent motion from the Department of Justice includes numbers that tell a much different story than what has been communicated in congressional testimony.
While Gulf production was higher in 2010 than any previously recorded year, these levels peaked prior to the BP disaster and have steadily declined ever since the imposition of the moratorium on drilling.
As fiscal pressure dominates political debates across the nation, Louisianians can now see all state employee salaries at the click of a button.
The multi-billion dollar LSU and Veterans Affairs Hospitals project, seen by many as harmless economic development, has important implications for property rights and fiscal responsibility.
Sen. David Vitter and other Republican lawmakers have introduced a “National Right to Work” bill that will protect employees from discriminatory practices in the workplace and guard against forced unionization. Studies show that “Right to Work” states outperform the more unionized areas of the country.
Public sector unions are boosting taxpayer costs in Louisiana just as they are in other states. The demonstrations in Wisconsin, New Jersey and Ohio relate back to a fundamental change in the composition of organized labor. For the first time in American history, more union workers are employed by the government than the private sector.
Health care compacts can protect against federal overreach, cancel out ObamaCare and restore federalism. But more states are needed to reach “critical mass” and pressure the feds.
Legal scholars claim Judge Vinson’s ruling against ObamaCare in Florida can apply nationwide. Gov. Jindal the U.S. Supreme Court to put an end to the federal law.
“The political turmoil sweeping across countries like Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, and Tunisia has resulted in rising oil and gasoline prices, increased inflation, devalued currencies, and diminishing stock values… Unfortunately for U.S. consumers, no one is taking action to alleviate the strain on their pocketbook.”
Sheila Weinberg, of the Institute for Truth in Accounting, unravels the illusions of federal and state accounting that conceal deficits.
“While the $1.6 billion shortfall is a legitimate concern, a greater danger lurks beneath the surface and eventually could dwarf our current challenges.”
President Obama’s plan to increase taxes on the energy industry has sparked a swift response from the American Petroleum Institute.
Analysis from Friday’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce luncheon quantified New Orleans’ declining political capital and the expanded presence of self-described Hispanics.
“The simple solution is to stop imposing federal boondoggles on the states and let them determine their needs for expanded rail networks.”
Energy providers participating in a renewables pilot program, with minor exceptions, will also face heavy research and reporting requirements.
We can be “tough on crime and the bottom line,” says Right on Crime, an openly conservative advocacy group for criminal justice reform. The organization held a press conference and highlighted Louisiana’s fiscal challenges and incarceration rate, the highest in the nation.
Led by Louisiana’s Noble Ellington, ALEC promotes “priority-based budgeting” NEW ORLEANS, La. – The American Legislative Exchange Council has released its “State Budget Reform Toolkit,” a plan for resolving fiscal shortfalls without increased taxation, raids of rainy-day funds, or reliance on federal funds. ALEC’s toolkit comes as Louisiana faces a projected $1.6 billion deficit for…
Kevin Kane discusses new research, “Louisiana’s Fiscal Albatross: The Coming Public Pension Crisis.” The report is the first in a four-part series on state employee retirement benefits, which account for the state’s unfunded liabilities and which Kane describes as a “ponzi scheme.”
Pelican Institute Report: taxpayers on the hook for billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities. Despite Governor Jindal’s national accolades, Louisiana is on course for fiscal catastrophe. Next year’s $2 billion shortfall is the tip of the iceberg.
Louisiana’s medical society reports doubling of hospital employment in four years, and as the profession ages fewer are set to work in private practice. “This signals the further decline in the free practice of medicine,” says Dr. Thomas Kendall Sr., a South Carolina spokesman for the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.
State Lawmakers can resist grants with “Federal Strings” and suspend rule-making. Earlier, bipartisan legislation from Louisiana has indicated the plausibility of such tactics.
Speakers divided over viability of American constitutional solutions, despite Swiss success