Posts tagged #LAGOP

LAGOP: Audit Bombshell: Edwards Administration Admits to Ignoring State Law

Louisiana Department of Health caught handing out millions per month in illegal Medicaid payments to Governor’s campaign donors

Baton Rouge, LA – Last week, Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera released the latest audit covering the Louisiana Department of Health. This report details the lack of compliance of the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), behavioral health providers, and managed care organizations with certain provisions of Louisiana Revised Statute 40:2162.


The audit found that 114,963 (40.2 percent) of the 286,307 Medicaid claims submitted and paid for psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR) and community psychiatric support (CPST) and treatment services provided between January 1, 2019, and March 31, 2019, DID NOT include the National Provider Identification (NPI) number of the individual who provided the service.


These illegally paid claims represent $10,504,923 (40.4 percent) of the $26,023,323 paid for PSR and CPST services over the same three-month period.

This accountability requirement was introduced in the 2018 Regular Session as SB564 by Democratic Senator Jay Luneau. It passed both through both chambers unanimously and was signed by the Governor, but apparently after signing the new law, John Bel Edwards threw it in the trash!

The Edwards Administration and the Louisiana Department of Health simply chose to ignore the law and the Louisiana Legislature; costing taxpayers MILLIONS every month and would end up costing the state ABOUT $40 MILLION by the end of the year.

The State Superintendent of Education is begging for $15 million for early childhood education. The state legislature is currently fighting over $39 millionin school funding. Meanwhile, John Bel Edwards and his Louisiana Department of Health are breaking the law and on-pace to give away $40 million of taxpayer money.
 Yesterday, the groups involved called this illegal $10 million handout a “technical glitch” and focused on the provider side of the problem.

Why is the Louisiana Department of Health intentionally paying MILLIONS in illegal Medicaid claims?

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The same companies taking taxpayer money through these illegal claims are bending over backwards to funnel campaign money to Governor John Bel Edwards. The people of Louisiana deserve better.


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Posted on May 21, 2019 and filed under John Bel Edwards.

LAGOP: Gov. Edwards Manipulates Economic Data, Attempts to Trick Local Media

Baton Rouge, LA – Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new economic data.

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In response to this report, Governor Edwards and his campaign team released a statement and took to social media trying to spin these statistics before the media could read the report.

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Wait a second…3.5%? Is that a typo? No. It is an intentional manipulation of the data to fit their political agenda. The Governor’s team has decided to use “non-seasonally adjusted” numbers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: “As a general rule, the monthly employment and unemployment numbers reported in the news areseasonally adjusted data.Seasonally adjusted data are useful when comparing several months of data. Annual average estimates are calculated from the not seasonally adjusted data series.”

“There are fewer workers and fewer jobs in Louisiana today than last month and last year. How long is this Governor going to get away with lying about economic numbers?" said LAGOP Executive Director Andrew Bautsch.

This was not a mistake. This is an intentional misrepresentation of the data by the Governor and his campaign team.

The people of Louisiana know that under John Bel Edwards, Louisiana is falling behind the nation. In fact, since John Bel Edwards was elected Governor, more than 65,000 people have left Louisiana to find a job in another state where they can enjoy the full benefits of President Trump’s economic policy.

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“This Governor prioritized meeting with an American Idol over meeting with the American President. The people of Louisiana see right through this pathetic attempt by John Bel Edwards to steal credit for President Trump’s economic success,” said LAGOP Communications Director Jason Harbison.


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Posted on May 17, 2019 and filed under LAGOP, Louisiana, John Bel Edwards.

LAGOP: LOUISIANA- FIRST IN LAST, AGAIN

So once more Louisiana is dead last in a ranking of all fifty states! This particular ranking, by U. S. News & World Report magazine, is, unfortunately, one of the older, more respected and widely noted of such rankings.


This ranking evaluated education, healthcare, infrastructure, opportunity, crime and quality of life metrics- precisely the sort of things that we elected John Bel Edwards to fix in 2015. However, the Governor faults the evaluating criteria, accusing the magazine of using old data sources, presumably pre-2019 data. But then 2019 is not yet over, so one hesitates to cast aspersions on U. S. News & World Report for this omission.
The sad fact is that this magazine has reached the same conclusion that Louisiana is the worst state to live in for three straight years. There can be little doubt where we will be in the rankings next year, and let us not forget the many other state rankings by numerous other institutions which confirm our terrible condition.

Harken back to the heady days of the 2015 campaign and the many promises made by John Bel Edwards: That he would reform our bloated and inefficient state government, that he would not raise our taxes, that he would repair our infrastructure, etc., etc. Yet what do we have to show for all the bitterness in tone, the innumerable legislative sessions, the threats to throw nursing home patients out in the street and end the LSU football program, and so forth?

We have higher taxes, decaying infrastructure, a terrible public education system, an out-of-control Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals (which will break us financially in the next several years), and one of the slowest growing state economies in the country. And all the while tens of thousands of our fellow citizens leave Louisiana every year for greener pastures...

The missed opportunities of this administration boggle the mind, but John Bel Edwards faults the data. We fault this Governor!

On to Victory in 2019!

Louis Gurvich, Chairman
Republican Party of Louisiana

Posted on May 14, 2019 and filed under Louisiana, LAGOP, John Bel Edwards.

LAGOP: President Trump Returns to Louisiana, Supports Oil and Gas Industry

Photo source: LAGOP

Photo source: LAGOP

(Baton Rouge, LA) – President Donald Trump will get a first-hand look at the soon-to-be-opened Cameron LNG export terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana. The visit will be the President’s third trip to Louisiana since he took office in 2017, and comes just weeks after Vice President Mike Pence was in Louisiana to visit the site of one of the St. Landry Parish churches destroyed by arson.


“It is comforting to have President Trump and his administration standing with Louisiana through good times and bad,” said LAGOP Chairman Louis Gurvich. “The people of Louisiana appreciate a President who fights for them.”

During his first term, President Trump focused on unleashing American energy by cutting red-tape and eliminating burdensome regulations. The results were almost instantaneous. Last year, energy production spiked 8%from 2017, with more than half the growth being fueled by natural gas and oil.

Last month President Trump issued an Executive Order to promote energy infrastructure and economic growth. The President has set a clear example that support from the executive branch of government can be a tremendous catalyst for growth in the oil and gas industry.

Unfortunately, in Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards instead concentrated on maximizing legal fees for his campaign donors through new lawsuits against Louisiana oil and gas producers. “If the parishes don’t sue, the state will,” threatened Governor Edwards.According to the LSU Center for Energy Studies, legacy lawsuits have cost Louisiana thousands of wells and billions of dollars.

Now up for re-election, Governor Edwards has stopped talking about the lawsuits and shifted to vague talking-points and photo ops, hoping to hide his dismal economic record while taking credit for economic growth caused by President Trump.

“Governor Edwards should follow the President’s example and start supporting Louisiana’s oil and gas industry instead of extorting them with lawsuits,” commented LAGOP Executive Director Andrew Bautsch.

Posted on May 13, 2019 and filed under LAGOP, Donald Trump.

LAGOP: John Bel Edwards Has Failed Louisiana's Oil and Gas Industry

(Baton Rouge, LA) – Today, as we observe Oil & Gas Day in Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards continues his assault on Louisiana’s lifeblood, the oil and gas industry, thereby jeopardizing the economic security of hundreds of thousands of workers and their families.


Since taking office Edwards has bombarded the oil and gas companies with lawsuits, regulations, and higher taxes, and the sad results clearly show in Louisiana’s diminished importance in the nation’s energy economy.
To illustrate the damage that John Bel Edwards has caused, read below:

  • He has actively encouraged lawsuits against the oil and gas industry in parishes across the state, which is unsurprising since the trial lawyer lobby spent over $2.6 million electing him.

  • The Wall Street Journal:“Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards was elected in 2015 with substantial support from trial lawyers, and he’s now repaying them in kind. The former minority leader of the state’s House of Representatives is effectively extorting oil and gas companies to backfill the budget while engineering what could be a handsome payday for his friends at a politically connected law firm.” (March 2018)

  • His changes to Louisiana’s highly successful, eighty plus year old Industrial Tax Exemption Program (ITEP) have burdened energy companies by creating uncertainty in the cost of future investment in the state. ExxonMobil has taken the extraordinary step of publicly stating that they will no longer factor the program into their decision-making.

  • ExxonMobil:“Due to the uncertainty, we will have to assume there is no ITEP incentive as we make cost projections on future investment opportunities in Louisiana.” (January 2019)

  • In 2018 alone, Louisiana under John Bel Edwards lost 1,100 jobs in the sector that includes the oil and gas industry, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Under John Bel Edwards, Louisiana has raised taxes and fees at a higher rate than any other state in the country, further weakening the business climate for the state’s oil and gas industry.

  • Former Democratic Congressman Chris John:“It is the engine that drives our economy… A governor who would not recognize that, I think, is doing a disservice to Louisiana.” (July 2018)

With more than 260,000 employees across the state and an average annual wage of more than $96,500 (almost double the state’s average wage), and a contribution of more than $2 billion in annual state taxes, it is clear that the energy industry is critical to Louisiana’s employment, state budget and overall economic success.

“Our state deserves a governor who will work to build up our economy, not tear it down. Governor Edwards continues to show that he is willing to put Louisiana’s economic health and working families at risk to boost his trial lawyer backers,” commented LAGOP Chairman Executive Director Andrew Bautsch

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LAGOP: JOHN BEL EDWARDS CHOOSES CAMPAIGN CASH OVER SENIOR CARE

(Dallas, TX) – After funneling over $40,000 into John Bel Edwards’ campaign pockets, Senior Care Center Management LCC has filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court. Senior Care Center Management operates senior care, assisted living and hospice facilities in Texas and Louisiana.
 
Many of their Louisiana facilities have been trusted to treat some of our most vulnerable populations and rely on Medicaid to reimburse their facilities and cover the cost of care. After expanding the Medicaid program in 2016, Governor Edwards is now trying to dedicate an additional $1 billion from our state budget to cover the growing cost of Medicaid here in Louisiana.
 
Unfortunately, while running up hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and refusing to PAY RENT at their facilities, the team at Senior Care Management was busy working with Governor Edwards’ campaign to funnel over $40,000 into their campaign account through eight of its corporate subsidiaries.
 
April 2015 – Spring Lake SCC LLC, Shreveport SCC LLC, Normandie SCC LLC, Ruston SCC LLC, Colonial SCC LLC, Bradford SCC LLC, Booker SCC LLC, and Bossier SCC LLC are all registered with the Texas Secretary of State.

These EIGHT entities all share:

  • The same registered agent, Amarillo Corporate Services, LLC

  • The same address, 600 N Pearl St, Suite 1100, Dallas, TX

  • The same roster of officers, with Andrew Kerr, listed as President & CEO, John Heller as Vice President, and Alan Boerner, Alan Munday, and Scott Rickard as Directors. Kerr is also listed in a press release as Chief Financial Operator at the time.


November 2015 – Spring Lake SCC LLC, Shreveport SCC LLC, Normandie SCC LLC, Ruston SCC LLC, Colonial SCC LLC, Bradford SCC LLC, Booker SCC LLC, and Bossier SCC LLC all donate $2,500 contributions to Edwards’ campaign for governor. (See Below)
 
January 2016 – Edwards expands Medicaid in Louisiana.
 
March 2016 – Spring Lake SCC LLC, Shreveport SCC LLC, Normandie SCC LLC, Ruston SCC LLC, Colonial SCC LLC, Bradford SCC LLC, Booker SCC LLC, and Bossier SCC LLC all donate $2,500 each to Edwards’ re-election. (See Below)
 
November 2016 – Senior Care Center Management LLC donates $4,000 to Edwards’ re-election. (See Below)
  
These entities, all of whom have the same registered agent, officers, and location, have donated a total of $44,000 to Edwards.

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Posted on April 24, 2019 and filed under Louisiana, Oil and Gas, John Bel Edwards.

LAGOP: Edwards’ Administration Caught Manipulating Jobs Data to Avoid Federal Food Stamp Work Requirements

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(Baton Rouge, LA) – Last week The Foundation for Government Accountability published a report titled “Waivers Gone Wild,” detailing the steps taken by Governor John Bel Edwards to sidestep work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents, allowing them to still receive food stamp benefits.

Federal law generally requires able-bodied adults without dependents to work, train, or volunteer at least part-time to maintain food stamp eligibility. These rules apply to non-pregnant adults who are between the ages of 18 and 50, who are mentally and physically fit for employment, and who have no dependent children or incapacitated family members living at home.

However, in Louisiana, Governor Edwards has gone to great lengths to game the system. According to the report, Louisiana starts its waiver period in September, the last month of the federal fiscal year. This exploits a regulatory loophole that lets Governor Edwards use unemployment data back to December 2015. Further, Governor Edwards decided to put all 64 parishes together into one single group, allowing many parishes to qualify for waivers even if the local economy is thriving.

Today in Louisiana, 60,310 able-bodied adults without dependents are on food stamps and under the guidance of John Bel Edwards, 76% of those able-bodied adults are not working. That means there are 45,850 able-bodied adults without dependents that are cooperating with Governor Edwards to game the system and take advantage of taxpayers across the state.

“My colleagues and I want those who need help to get it; however, with that help should come opportunity - the opportunity to learn a new skill, improve their resume through community services, and find a job that will help them thrive instead of just survive. This report shows that that the Governor’s administration is leading our state further down a pathway of government dependence, while other states are choosing a path toward prosperity, ” said State Representative Rick Edmonds.

“We cannot ignore the facts on, or the implications of, this issue. Most of the nation is experiencing record job growth and economic success because they empower their people to become successful; however, our state allows able-bodied food stamp recipients with no dependents to bypass federal work requirements that could ultimately help them find a good job.”

The full report can be found at:
https://thefga.org/research/work-requirement-waivers-gone-wild/

Posted on April 23, 2019 and filed under Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, LAGOP.

LAGOP: NO COLLUSION. NO OBSTRUCTION

Republican leaders react to Mueller Report.

(Baton Rouge, LA) – Earlier today Attorney General William Barr released the findings of the Mueller Report. The Mueller Report found no collusion and no obstruction.

"This is a complete and total vindication of President Trump. It is increasingly clear that the only scandal here is the Obama administration’s repeated failure to act against Russian cyber meddling. Instead, they prioritized spying on a political opponent – the Trump campaign – and used a phony DNC-funded dossier as justification.” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

After 121 Interviews/Testimonies, 53 Document Requests, and 28 hearings, the Mueller investigation cost American taxpayers $35 million over the past two years.

“Liberal leaders across the country have spent the past two years tearing our nation apart with their collusion conspiracy theories; prioritizing political points over the people they are supposed to be serving. From Nancy Pelosi to Adam Schiff to Karen Carter Peterson, Democratic Party leaders must stop chasing their tail and start working with President Trump to keep America great,” said LAGOP Executive Director, Andrew Bautsch.

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Posted on April 18, 2019 and filed under Donald Trump, LAGOP.

LAGOP: John Bel Edwards Accepts Maximum Donation From Harvey Weinstein’s Cover-Up Machine

(Baton Rouge, LA) – Terrified at his dimming prospects for re-election, Governor John Bel Edwards is desperate for campaign cash and will apparently take money from ANYONE. On December 5, 2017, the New York Times published an article titled “Weinstein’s Complicity Machine.” In the center of this cover-up machine was Brian Lourd, longtime partner at Creative Arts Agency.[i] 

“When asked if he had known of Mr. Weinstein’s alleged harassment of clients, Bryan Lourd, a partner at C.A.A., declined to comment, citing client confidentiality. In mid-September, Mr. Weinstein stormed into Mr. Lourd’s office to complain about an article that Ronan Farrow, a C.A.A. client, was writing on Mr. Weinstein’s alleged misconduct for The New Yorker, according to someone familiar with C.A.A.’s dealings with Mr. Weinstein. Later that month, Mr. Lourd tried to set up a meeting at the producer’s request. “This guy won’t meet right now,” he wrote to Mr. Weinstein on Sept. 26. “He did say he will call you soon. I think he is absolutely pursuing the story.”

On January 14, 2018, one of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers, actress Rose McGowan, bravely pointed the finger at C.A.A. and Brian Lourd for acting as “pimps” for Harvey Weinstein.[ii] “Who do you think is behind this ‘great’ PR? Why, it’s the company of pimps that sent so many into the Monster’s Lair themselves. CAA. #TIMESUPfakes,” McGowan tweeted. On March 4, 2019, Harvey Weinstein’s fixer, Brian Lourd, sent a $5000 maximum donation to Governor John Bel Edwards. “John Bel Edwards needs to spend more time re-learning his honor code and less time begging Harvey Weinstein’s buddies for campaign cash.” Said LAGOP Political Director Jason Harbison. 

Sources:
[i] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/05/us/harvey-weinstein-complicity.html


[ii] https://pagesix.com/2018/01/14/rose-mcgowan-caa-agents-were-weinsteins-pimps/ 

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Posted on April 18, 2019 and filed under LAGOP, John Bel Edwards, Louisiana.

LAGOP: Gov. Edwards' Dirty Money

Photo source: NOLA

Photo source: NOLA

The following is a release from the Louisiana Republican Party:

(Baton Rouge, LA) - On November 8, 2015, Governor John Bel Edwards received three $5,000 checks (the maximum donation allowed), all from the exact same address. These checks came, respectively, from the founder of Force Multiplier Solutions, LLC, Robert Leonard, his wife Margaret “Linda” Leonard, [i] and their company, Force Multiplier Solutions, LLC. On August 9, 2018, Robert Leonard pled guilty to federal conspiracy charges stemming from a bribery and kickback scheme set up by Leonard to defraud the Dallas County Schools out of millions of dollars. [ii] According to court filings, even though Margaret “Linda” Leonard did not work for Force Multiplier Solutions, LLC the company paid the mortgage on her $1.6 million estate in Dallas. She also received over $50,000 in payments from the company in over two months. Robert Leonard was the mastermind behind the bribery plot, [iii] but the Dissolution Committee for the Former Board of Trustees of Dallas County Schools is focused on Margaret Leonard's assets because of her involvement. The committee was set up by the Texas Legislature (similar to the executor of an estate) to go collect as much money as possible from the people who defrauded Dallas County Schools. The checks in her name were written to Dallas County Schools president Larry Duncan, who has admitted to taking bribes. [iv] Ms. Leonard now claims the campaign checks signed in her name were not authorized. "I didn't write this check," she stated in her sworn deposition earlier this year.” That's not my handwriting."

We wonder whether she signed the $5,000 check she wrote to Governor Edwards during the same time period? “Following the strings attached to Governor Edwards’ dirty money will lead you into some pretty dark places.” said LAGOP Political Director, Jason Harbison. Louisiana taxpayers deserve to know the truth about their Governor’s relationship with Robert Leonard. Today we have submitted an official records request to the Governor’s Office to determine what strings were attached to this dirty money from a convicted fraudster. While we wait for the Governor’s Office to respond to our request; John Bel Edwards should immediately turn over this dirty money to the proper law enforcement authority.

The public records request can be found HERE.

Sources:

[i] https://www.thenewspaper.com/news/66/6680.asp


[ii] https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndtx/pr/dallas-city-council-member-and-president-force-multiplier-solutions-plead-guilty-mult-0

[iii] https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/education/article_f5622ab8-0dbe-11e8-af67-8bce44ab14a0.html

[iv] https://www.nbcdfw.com/investigations/Dallas-County-Schools-Investigative-Series-401118835.html

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LAGOP Chairman: IN RESPONSE TO GOV EDWARDS' STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS

John Bel Edwards’ State of the State address (actually it was a thinly disguised re-election campaign speech) at the opening of the legislative session contained the usual self-congratulatory remarks that we have come to expect. However, the first clue that all had not been well since his ascension to the Governorship was his early remark that “... our state is finally moving in the right direction.” Now that was an odd comment for a governor to make in his thirty-ninth month of office.

Oblivious to his unwitting admission that during most of his term the state must, therefore, have been moving in the wrong direction, he charged onward. Picking up exactly where he had left off in last year’s closing speech, John Bel Edwards treated us to the usual bromides to the effect that he had solved the budget crisis, restored fiscal stability, the state was much stronger and a much better place, and was now back on a path to more prosperity and opportunity, etc., etc.

Unfortunately, none of these claims are true. Despite $7B in new taxes wrung from an exhausted legislature, what we really have is a patchwork parity of state income and expenditures for exactly one year. Be assured that Louisiana will soon enough be on the brink of another fiscal cliff, and another one after that, and so on until the state can no longer raise taxes and there are too few businesses left to tax anyway.

The reasons for this sad state of affairs can be laid directly on the desk of John Bel Edwards: firstly, he broke his campaign promise to reform government and thereby avoid the need to raise our taxes; secondly, he botched the Medicaid rollout in one of his first acts as governor in 2016.

The first premise is easily provable by comparing John Bel Edwards’ 2015 campaign commercials with his actual governance while in office. The Governor’s immediate call for more taxes and his total lack of any attempt at real reform in over three years at the helm are plain facts on the ground as the saying goes. The consequences of his deception have been catastrophic for our state. The low growth rate, high unemployment rate, and the tens of thousands who have left the state since he took office are irrefutable proof of his failed vision and leadership. Indeed, they are the natural results of his progressive agenda, and the state has lost considerable ground under his administration as compared to our Southern neighbors.

As to the second premise, recall that in 2018 the impartial Legislative Auditor estimated that somewhere between $61M- 85.5M was being wasted every year in expenditures on people who were ineligible to be on Medicare in the first place. The legislative auditor’s estimate has just been proved essentially correct by the Governor’s own administration, which now acknowledges that over thirty thousand Medicaid recipients were ineligible for the program. (The legislative auditor did only a cursory check of the rolls- the real level of waste is probably twice his estimate.)

Had the Medicaid expansion program been rolled out in 2016 with any provision for checking the eligibility of the applicants, a teacher pay raise would have been achievable years ago. But the problem of Medicaid fraud and waste is only going to get bigger and bigger, and this Governor is ideologically opposed to any serious attempt to fix it.

In his opening speech, John Bel Edwards claimed success after success, but the truth is starkly evident all around us: government in Louisiana remains broken and unreformed, our economy is doing poorly relative to the rest of the country, and our state is at or very near the bottom in every quality of life comparison. It is time for a change!


Louis Gurvich, Chairman
Republican Party of Louisiana

Posted on April 10, 2019 and filed under LAGOP, John Bel Edwards, Louisiana.

LAGOP: Gov. Edwards Rewrites History to Boost Re-Election Hopes

The following statement was issued by the Louisiana Republican Party yesterday in response to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ speech before the start of the regular session of the Louisiana Legislature:

(Baton Rouge, LA) - This afternoon the people of Louisiana received a clear reminder that their Governor’s Office is occupied by a loyal follower of the Democratic Party’s philosophy of tax-and-spend governance.
 

Governor Edwards spent the last three years signing the largest tax increase in state history; signing more than two dozen additional new laws that are permanently affecting the taxes and fees paid by small and large companies conducting business in Louisiana.

For the working families in Louisiana, the tax-and-spend policies of this Democratic Governor have been an anchor around the neck of our state’s economy. 

  • In 2017 under Governor Edwards' leadership, Louisiana posted the worst economic performance of any state in the country, with the state’s GDP shrinking by 0.2 percent.

  • In 2018, Governor Edwards received an “F” for fiscal responsibility in the CATO Group 2018 annual report card for America’s governors.

  • A 2019 report puts Governor Edwards’ Administration dead last for return on taxpayer investment for services including public education, health care, and public safety.

Today Governor Edwards did not let any facts stand in the way of delivering a campaign speech focused on the only “achievement” of his first term: raising our taxes so high that he has money left over, for now...

Today he promised to SPEND IT ALL. He even joked about not making any cuts.

Focused on his own re-election, Edwards has clearly turned to the “spend” page of his Democratic playbook.

Posted on April 9, 2019 and filed under John Bel Edwards, LAGOP.

LAGOP Chairman Calls on Governor to Release Records Related to Scandal-Plagued Business Summit

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(Baton Rouge, LA): The Republican Party of Louisiana is calling on Governor John Bel Edwards to answer for the delay in releasing public records regarding his scandal-plagued “business summit” in February. The business summit appeared to be little more than a taxpayer-funded campaign event stacked with Edwards contributors and supporters.

The LAGOPsubmitteda public records request on February 18, 2019 for any and all correspondence related to Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards’ Louisiana Statewide Business Summit to discern whether the governor was in fact holding a taxpayer-funded campaign event to bolster his re-election efforts. The request was made following media coverageindicatingthat numerous speakers at the event were campaign contributors or employees of Edwards. A copy of the request can be foundhere.

The records were due to be delivered on March 18, 2019, but the LAGOP received email correspondence from Governor Edwards’ office on the due date stating “It is now estimated that all non-exempt records will be made available to you on or before April 22, 2019” – a delay of more than 30 additional days, and more than 60 days beyond the original request date. A query regarding the reason for the delay went unanswered as of 9:00am this morning.

“When Governor Edwards was under fire for using taxpayer funds to hold a re-election event, his office repeatedly claimed that his so-called business summit was aboveboard,” said Chairman Louis Gurvich. “Now, once the glare of the spotlight has faded, the governor’s office is stonewalling the release of public records. What do they have to hide? The Governor needs to release these public records so the people of Louisiana get the transparency they deserve.”

The LAGOPsubmitted an additional public records request on February 25, 2019, for any and all correspondence related to closed-door meetings reportedly hosted by Governor Edwards with business leaders. Under scrutiny from the media for the business summit, Edwards’ spokesperson Christina Stephens told The Associated Press that the governor has been hosting “closed-door meetings with business leaders since 2017.” The Governor’s office has not yet responded to this request, a copy of which can be foundhere.

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Posted on March 27, 2019 and filed under John Bel Edwards, Louisiana, LAGOP.

LAGOP: IN RESPONSE TO THE ADVOCATE ARTICLE CONCERNING AN ANTI-RALPH ABRAHAM BLOG POST

I read with interest the article by Elizabeth Crisp published in the March 20 edition of The Advocate to the effect that Republican gubernatorial candidates had begun “sniping” at each other. Her article was based on statements contained in an out-of-state conservative blog calling out one of our candidates for remarks he made in 2016.

Now I am not implying that I agree with the thesis of Ms. Crisp’s article, nor do I take a position on the underlying allegations contained in the blog. However, I do think it is an appropriate time to remind our candidates that the one essential imperative of this campaign season is to defeat John Bel Edwards. The 2015 campaign is not very distant in our collective rearview mirror, and the three year, ten legislative session nightmare under the Edwards administration is an ever constant reminder of the danger of Republican infighting.

Let us not forget that taxes have been raised by $7,000,000,000; the promised government reform has not even been attempted. The state is going broke because of a botched Medicaid expansion. Our citizens are leaving Louisiana at an accelerating pace, and all the while we rank dead last or approach ever nearer the bottom in every state ranking due to high unemployment and low economic growth. Yet John Bel Edwards has the temerity to call the last three years a success. This amounts to an unintended but frank admission that he has no vision for a second term other than still higher taxes and fees, which we would soon enough be called upon to deliver if he were to be re-elected.

Our state is slowly dying, and the Governor has no remedy which will not accelerate the decline. Our Republican candidates must wage this campaign in the knowledge that Republican infighting only assures a second victory for John Bel Edwards, and we must not let that happen! Issues and policy disputes are legitimate matters for the political arena; irrelevant or misleading articles and personal attacks have no place in this contest.

Let us hope that our Republican candidates will confine themselves to the crucial issues which will define our future. The Republican Party of Louisiana wishes them well and appreciates their sacrifices, but the party will not permit a reprise of 2015.


Louis Gurvich, Chairman
Republican Party of Louisiana

Posted on March 21, 2019 and filed under LAGOP, John Bel Edwards.

LAGOP CHAIRMAN'S RESPONSE TO LSU MANSHIP SCHOOL NEWS SERVICE ARTICLE

Photo source: Wikipedia

Photo source: Wikipedia

By way of response to the LSU Manship School News Service article “Why does state GOP recruit so few women to run for office?”,  the Republican Party of Louisiana takes strong issue with the underlying premise stated in the title as well as the misleading facts mentioned in said article. It should also be pointed out that the author of said article did not bother to contact an official spokesperson from the Republican Party of Louisiana (the LAGOP) for an interview or a statement.

The fact is that of the twenty-two women currently serving in the Louisiana Legislature; twelve are Republicans. One more is in the March 30th runoff against a male Democrat largely funded by out-of-state left-wing political organizations, so our party has the potential to soon add another female Republican to our legislative ranks. Of further note is the fact that the number of Democrat females in the legislative delegation has actually decreased since 2015, while the number of Republican females continues to increase.

As regards statewide elected officials, in addition to electing a Republican female as Commissioner of Elections, the fact is that the LAGOP has nominated or endorsed Republican females for U. S. Senator, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and Insurance Commissioner, several of whom were defeated in vicious campaigns conducted by “good ole boy” DEMOCRAT political machines. In Louisiana’s most recent statewide race just this last November, two of the four female candidates for Secretary of State were Republican women.

And what about the Republican Party of Louisiana itself? Here again, the facts speak for themselves: Females have served as Chairwoman, Vice Chairwoman (including the current Vice Chairwoman), and Secretary. Most of the LAGOP Deputy Chairs are female, as is most of the party staff, and many of the chairs and members of our Republican Parish Executive Committees are also female, with more arriving every day.

The LAGOP strongly agrees that Louisiana needs to elect more females to public office, a point apparently missed by the Louisiana Democratic Party as the number of its female state legislators has declined. Meanwhile, our party is doing everything it can to recruit, train, organize and assist our candidates, both male and female, as never before. Our growing female legislative delegation and the many Republican females being elected at the parish and local levels of government, solidly attest to this fact. 

Our objection to this article is that it politicizes and thereby demeans a very real issue of fundamental importance to all Americans. This offensive LSU Manship School News Service article does not help the cause of women in pursuing political office, rather the reverse.

Louis Gurvich, Chairman
Republican Party of Louisiana
 

Posted on March 14, 2019 and filed under LAGOP.

LAGOP: How Not To Govern Louisiana- The Sad Tale of ITEP Under the John Bel Edwards’ Administration

Photo source: KNOE

Photo source: KNOE

We were very pleased to learn last week that the Exxon/Mobil polyolefin plant expansion project worth about $500M had received what is called an “ITEP” exemption from local property taxes, and that the project would proceed. There had been serious concern about the ultimate approval of what heretofore would have been a routine, no-brainer project for the betterment of our state and our workers. But the sad tale of what has recently happened to this highly successful industry and jobs incentive program under the John Bel Edwards’ administration bodes ill for future industrial development in Louisiana.

The tale begins over eighty years ago and ends at the present day as an expose on John Bel Edwards’ poor leadership and the dangers posed by Louisiana Democrats’ adoption of progressive-socialist ideology. Here’s why every worker and his or her family members should shudder whenever any local governing agency with taxing authority decides to cast a bureaucratic eye at an employer’s application for local tax relief via an ITEP exemption:

It is the early 1930’s and Huey Long’s populist “share-the-wealth” agenda is well underway in Louisiana. Gov. Long’s constant rants against the major oil companies during the worst depression in American history have rewarded him with almost total political power within the state. He uses this power to slash personal and utility tax rates and effectively eliminates personal property taxes for most citizens (read ‘voters’ in Huey’s lexicon) by instituting the homestead exemption, while greatly increasing taxes and fees on industry to make up for the ensuing deficits.

An assassin’s bullet ends Huey Long’s life in 1935, but the damage has been done and the political culture of Louisiana remains populist and hostile to industry for many years afterward. The Great Depression lingers on and by the late 1930’s the political heirs of the Long era have begun to realize that industry now needs an incentive to move to Louisiana.

Enter the Industrial Property Tax Exemption Program (ITEP), first passed in 1936 as a major incentive to draw larger industrial projects to Louisiana to offset the otherwise uncompetitive tax system created by Huey Long. Up until 2016, the ITEP statute gives power to the State Board of Commerce & Industry to grant local property tax exemptions of up to 100% for up to ten years for plant and manufacturing investments. The program is highly successful in attracting new business and encouraging existing business to expand or retain their operations in Louisiana.

Now it is true that critics have attacked ITEP because the state granted the local tax exemptions without local government approval, but recall that ITEP was intended to reduce employers’ overall cost of doing business in Louisiana in order to offset the many disadvantages of doing business here- the high taxes and fees, state and local government hostility to business and the resulting awful legal climate, the high crime rates and the poor public services and schools, etc. ITEP was and is an attempt to compensate for these factors by leveling the playing field for any employer building or expanding in Louisiana, and it has succeeded in doing just what it was intended to do.

Contrary to what opponents have claimed, ITEP never gives state or local money to industry; rather, it simply defers local property taxes. What it does do is stimulate investment and create thousands of jobs which generate additional sales, income and other taxes from the moment construction begins on the approved projects, many of which would not otherwise be located in Louisiana.

But it is now 2016 and the state has a new governor, a trial lawyer with little business experience and member of a Democrat Party increasingly controlled by vocal socialist-progressives. John Bel Edwards is under strong pressure from Together Louisiana and other far-left organizations to sign an executive order giving partial control of ITEP exemptions to various local taxing authorities, from parish councils and police juries all the way down to local school boards.

Under the new ITEP rules, these local governments must pass resolutions in support of the proposed projects before the ITEP local property tax exemption can be finally approved by the State Board of Commerce & Industry. Unfortunately, many of the officials on these councils and boards are left-wing political ideologues who also have little or no business experience and don’t comprehend the reasoning behind the creation of ITEP in the first place.

Together Louisiana begins agitating against the granting of ITEP applications unless absurd job and wage guarantees are included in the application which more than nullify the tax benefits, and soon finds a willing accomplice in the East Baton Rouge School Board. The EBR School Board promptly balks at granting a proposed ITEP tax exemption filed by Exxon/Mobil, which happens to be the largest employer in the Baton Rouge metro area.

To understand the dangerous absurdity of what recently happened to Exxon/Mobil this past January, you must also know that this particular project had already been completed and Exxon/Mobil had been assured that it would be grandfathered in under the pre-2016 ITEP rules. This obviously did not happen after Together Louisiana reared its leftist head. Although the larger mega-project just received approval this last week, it is important to note that that project’s request for a tax exemption had been grandfathered in under the pre-2016 rules.

Future projects seeking ITEP approval can no longer be grandfathered in under the pre-2016 rules, of course, and local property tax abatement as a reward for locating or expanding industry in Louisiana has just become a political football on the most uneven playing field in America, our own dear Louisiana. Thanks to Gov. Edwards, the ITEP tax exemption program has become hostage to Together Louisiana and the far left elected officials who so love to grandstand with their anti-corporate vitriol, as industry executives throughout the nation and beyond have no doubt noted by now.

Louisiana needs all the help it can get to attract or even retain the industry it has, as our very poor comparative growth rate and loss of population attest. Over the last three years of the John Bel Edwards’ administration, vast swathes of the state have deteriorated significantly and the quality of life of our citizenry has fallen ever further behind that of our prospering neighbors.

Tinkering with one of the state’s most successful industry attraction programs in order to placate Louisiana Democrats was a political mistake of the worst sort for the worst of reasons. As it now stands, as older projects in Louisiana are completed, fewer and fewer new ones have been scheduled to replace them. The uncertain status of ITEP is a major reason why, and all Louisianians will suffer as a result.

This mess was predictable and preventable, but apparently not by a governor beholden to the Louisiana Democrat Party. Perhaps our Republican delegation in the legislature can reverse the damage to the ITEP program in the 2019 legislative session, but better still to have a new, REPUBLICAN Governor on January 13, 2020!

Louis Gurvich, Chairman
Republican Party of Louisiana

LAGOP's Statement Celebrating National Women's Day

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The Republican Party of Louisiana released the following statement celebrating Friday, March 8th as National Women’s Day:

“In honor of National Women’s Day, the Republican Party of Louisiana would like to recognize the women that better our communities, including the LAGOP’s very own staff. As an organization that is primarily staffed by women, we see first hand the impact conservative women have on our community,” said LAGOP Chairman Louis Gurvich.

“Today, let us celebrate the leadership of our LAGOP women. Their remarkable dedication to promoting our conservative principles is leading Louisiana to a more prosperous future.”

Posted on March 8, 2019 and filed under LAGOP.

LAGOP: Governor John Bel Edwards: Your Business Summit Can’t Help You Now

Photo source: LAGOP

Photo source: LAGOP

While Governor John Bel Edwards was singing his own praises during last week’s business summit, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis was proving that Gov. Edwards sang too soon.
 
According to a recent article in the Business Report and Hayride, Louisiana’s gross domestic product only increased by 1.9 percent in the third quarter, placing the state’s GDP growth among the slowest in the nation. By way of comparison, other states in our region such as Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida all saw an increase in GDP ranging from 2.7 percent to 3.8 percent. So much for Louisiana being better off under Governor Edwards, as he again proclaimed in his latest campaign ad.
 
During the Governor’s “business summit” (or should we say his campaign event), he claimed that Louisiana “has made a lot of progress” and that “our economy is growing, [and] deficits have been turned into surplus…”. 

Governor Edwards, if that is the case, why did the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report place Louisiana 44th out of the 50 states in economic growth?
 
So as Governor John Bel Edwards concludes his self-congratulatory business summit, let’s remember the plain truth: Louisiana’s economy isn’t doing very well under his administration, and the only thing growing in Louisiana is our taxes!

Posted on February 28, 2019 and filed under John Bel Edwards, Louisiana, LAGOP.

Republican Party of Louisiana Files Public Records Request Regarding Governor John Bel Edwards’ Reported Closed Door Meetings With Business Leaders

(Baton Rouge, LA): Monday, February 25, 2019, the Republican Party of Louisiana submitted a public records request for any and all correspondence related to closed-door meetings reportedly hosted by Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards with business leaders. A copy of the request can be found here.

According to a recent report by The Associated Press, Governor John Bel Edwards’ spokesperson Christina Stephens stated that the governor has been hosting “closed-door meetings with business leaders since 2017,” culminating his so-called business summit this week that appeared to be nothing more than a taxpayer-funded campaign event.

“Governor Edwards is already facing questions for his apparent use of taxpayer funds to hold a re-election event, but this startling admission about closed door meetings with business leaders raises additional concerns,” said Chairman Louis Gurvich. “By hosting these secret backroom meetings, the Governor is not being transparent with Louisiana taxpayers. The people of this state have a right to know about their Governor’s activities and we hope that this request will provide clarity.”

 

Posted on February 25, 2019 and filed under LAGOP, Louisiana, John Bel Edwards.

LAGOP: The So-called Business Summit: Some Facts to Counter the Fiction

Photo source: Twitter

Photo source: Twitter

The below was sent by email from the Louisiana GOP regarding “Honor Code”, John Bel Edwards’, economic summit: 

The long-heralded Louisiana Statewide Business Summit has ended in a cloud of self-congratulatory remarks by John Bel Edwards. Per the Governor, just like LSU’s football team, the state is fresh off a big victory. The big victory eludes us, however. In actuality, the Governor’s summit primarily consisted of administration officials and certain well-heeled campaign contributors, along with a few legitimate industry leaders for visual effect. Strangely and for reasons unknown, outsiders found it impossible to obtain admission to the event, even when inquiries were made soon after the summit was announced.

But back to the Governor’s closing remarks; Edwards’ touting of great gains in industrial growth and jobs under his administration must be seen as the second act of his re-election narrative. Surely, the first act must have been his blustering speech at the end of the third and final 2018 legislative session, and then regurgitated today to the effect that the fiscal problems of the state have been solved. (They have only been resolved possibly for this election year, to no one’s surprise.) The Governor’s re-election narrative would make for a mirthful comedy if it were not for the tragic consequences of his administration’s three-year fixation on higher taxes and fees to solve this state’s terrible fiscal problems.

Consider that Louisiana now has the seventh worst economic growth rate and the third highest unemployment rate in the nation, in spite of the fact that Louisiana has the greatest natural resources per capita of any state. Tens of thousands of Louisianans have already left the state, with additional hundreds of thousands sure to follow if, God forbid, the Governor is re-elected. Of course, these disappointing statistics are simply the effects and not the causes of consistently bad government under Governor Edwards’ administration. So let’s take a look at some of the Governor’s legislative “achievements” and their effect on industry and job growth:

HIGHER SALES TAXES: For the sake of clarification, the Governor did not reduce our sales taxes, despite his claims to that effect- he merely replaced a temporary tax with a lower permanent one and falsely took credit for reducing taxes. The real effect will be to raise taxes beyond the short term. Higher sales taxes discourage industrial growth, and our sales taxes are the highest in the nation. Certainly, there are no industry or job gains to be had here.

HIGHER BUSINESS TAXES & FEES: John Bel Edwards’ administration has raised taxes and fees on businesses faster than any other state in the last three years. This is an absolute disincentive for industry to locate or expand in Louisiana, and a job killer in the bargain.

GIVING LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONTROL OVER THE INDUSTRIAL TAX EXEMPTION PROGRAM (ITEP): This eighty-year-old program gave industries that moved or expanded their operations in Louisiana an exemption from paying local property taxes on their manufacturing facilities which lasts up to ten years. Additionally, John Bel Edwards foolishly gave local government bodies, down to the school board level, the ability to nix these exemptions that were originally designed to partially offset all the disincentives existing elsewhere in the statutes and tax code. The largest employer in the state (Exxon/Mobile) just lost a tax exemption because of the objections of a local school board, resulting in a loss of investment in Louisiana. More projects will no doubt fall prey to various socialist-progressive, anti-business, small-time political news-hounds. Well done, Governor, if that was your intention to chase industry and jobs out of Louisiana!

And these are just his signature “achievements” to date. Don’t forget all of his other attempts to raise taxes, which only failed due to Republican opposition. Going forward, we are advised that the Governor plans to introduce legislation to raise the gas tax (certainly not an incentive to attract industry and jobs), and to greatly increase the state’s minimum wage (an absolute job killer especially damaging to less experienced and currently unemployed workers).

So here we are as we begin our fourth year under the John Bel Edwards’ administration: Higher than average unemployment, lower than average job growth, a declining population, the highest sales tax in the nation, extremely high business fees and taxes, the worst performing government in the nation by almost all metrics, and no possibility of real reforms being implemented under this Democrat Governor. 

If John Bel Edwards wants to take credit for these economic “achievements” of the last three years, so be it!


Louis Gurvich, Chairman

Posted on February 22, 2019 and filed under John Bel Edwards, LAGOP, Louisiana.