Posts filed under John Bel Edwards

More of the Louisiana Media Kissing JBE’s Backside

Photo source: Twitter

Photo source: Twitter

The liberal bias is shining brightly at The Gambit, a New Orleans newspaper befitting fish wrap rather than news.

Attorney General Jeff Landry has repeatedly called for the rule of law to be followed in the State of Louisiana. Yet, when a hearing on the death penalty was recently conducted in Baton Rouge and family members of victims were allowed to testify, The Gambit called it a stunt on Landry's part and contrasted it to the "bold statement" from Gov. Gavin Newsom in California, who ordered a moratorium on executions in that state. What fair-minded reporting.

The truth of the matter is that "Honor Code" John Bel Edwards has repeatedly decided to bypass both the legislative branch of government and the will of the people of Louisiana. The Gambit would have you believe that these executions are not being done because the drugs used in the procedure are not available. Hogwash. There are a plethora of drugs available for the state's use in carrying out justice for victims and their families. The truth of the matter is that the governor refuses to use these drugs and is pandering to the left. And he's doing this at the expense of the people of the state that desire to see justice finally carried out.

But, don't blame me. I voted for David Vitter.

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

Louisiana Suspends Abortionist’s License, Now He Can’t Kill Babies in Abortions

Photo source: Louisiana Law Blog

Photo source: Louisiana Law Blog

On Feb. 26, the LSBME issued a “Notice for Summary Suspension of Medical License” formally suspending the license of Dr. Kevin Govan Work, according to the Baptist Message. Work was an abortionist at Delta Women’s Medical Clinic in Baton Rouge and Women’s Healthcare Center in New Orleans.

The suspension comes after state Attorney General Jeff Landry and Louisiana Right to Life called on the board to investigate Work’s history of malpractice at the two for-profit abortion clinics.

Read more: Louisiana Suspends Abortionist’s License, Now He Can’t Kill Babies in Abortions

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.

RGA: John Bel Edwards: Great for Texas, Bad for Louisiana

The Republican Governor’s Association has put out a YouTube video highlighting the stellar performance (pun intended), of our own Cajun Obama, “Honor Code” John Bel Edwards. The video highlights the state of the economy and business climate here in the Pelican State.

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

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.

The Economy in Acadiana is Looking Strong in 2019

Photo source: Wikipedia

Photo source: Wikipedia

Looking strong in all industries but one, our illustrious governor’s favorite red-headed stepchild, the oil and gas industry. The same industry that he and his ambulance chasing trial lawyer buddies love to sue.   

While things are looking up in some sectors, Bill Fenstermaker, chairman and CEO of Fenstermaker & Associates, said oil and gas revenues have dropped about $750,000,000 a year for the past three years. He suggested the current administration's policies could be causing Texas oil companies to avoid drilling in Louisiana, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Those of us that depend on the oil and gas industry to feed our families are tired of seeing this industry get kicked around by the Democrat Party and, most particular, John Bel Edwards, the Cajun Obama himself. This industry has given countless thousands of families in this state a good source of income for decades and for this governor to use his influence in order to shakedown this industry is disgraceful.

Read more: Economic Summit: Acadiana business leaders cautiously optimistic for growth in 2019

LAGOP: Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards’ Business Summit Appears To Be A Taxpayer-Funded Campaign Event

The Louisiana GOP sent out the below email regarding a business summit scheduled for this week in Baton Rouge  

With Louisiana currently ranked the worst state to find a job <https://www.wdsu.com/article/the-best-states-for-jobs-aren-t-what-you-might-expect/26133871> and consistently ranking among the bottom ten states for business climate <https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/10/top-states-for-business-louisiana.html>, Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards is hosting a business summit in Baton Rouge on Thursday to hide his failed leadership from voters. But is this event really a business summit, or a taxpayer-funded campaign event to bolster his re-election bid?

Over half of the speakers slated to address the event have either donated to Edwards’ campaign or currently work for him as administration officials:

Five of the 19 scheduled speakers for the event are state employees <https://www.thetjcgroup.com/louisiana-business-summit-agenda> who work for Edwards:

  • Don Pierson, Secretary, Louisiana Economic Development
  • Ava Dejoie, Secretary, Louisiana Workforce Commission (Department of Labor)
  • Jay Dardenne, Commissioner, Louisiana Division of Administration
  • Kimberly Robinson, Secretary, Department of Revenue
  • Shawn Wilson, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development

Eight of the 19 scheduled speakers donated <http://www.ethics.la.gov/CampaignFinanceSearch/SearchByName.aspx> to Edwards either personally or through their organizations:

  • Mike Olivier gave Edwards’ campaign $1,250 on 10/31/16.
  • CSRS Inc. gave Edwards’ campaign $5,000 on 10/31/16.
  • Eduardo Jimenez gave Edwards’ campaign $500 on 2/4/16.
  • Jay Dardenne’s Campaign LLC gave Edwards’ campaign $2,500 on 9/6/17.
  • Stream Family Limited Partnership gave Edwards’ campaign $5,000 on 1/23/17.
  • Waitr gave Edwards’ campaign $5,000 on 10/27/17.
  • Trey Burvant gave Edwards’ campaign $250 on 11/17/15.
  • Craig Spohn gave Edwards’ campaign $5,000 on 10/13/16.

Edwards’ apparent decision to use a state-sponsored business summit as an opportunity to rally his supporters and campaign donors on the taxpayer’s dime further shows that he’s just another hypocritical politician who can’t be trusted to lead Louisiana.

Posted on February 19, 2019 and filed under Jay Dardenne, Louisiana, John Bel Edwards.

Republican Party of Louisiana Files Public Records Request Regarding Governor John Bel Edwards’ Louisiana Statewide Business Summit

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Monday, February 18, 2019

(Baton Rouge, LA): Today the Republican Party of Louisiana submitted a public records request for any and all correspondence related to Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards’ Louisiana Statewide Business Summit to discern whether the governor is using it as a taxpayer-funded campaign event to bolster his re-election efforts. A copy of the request can be found here.

This request comes as Governor Edwards has faced a slew of bad headlines in recent weeks regarding his lackluster performance on the economy leading up to his announcement of the summit. This, along with the fact that many of the event’s speakers are either donors or employees of Edwards, raises questions of whether he is using his summit as a publicly-funded campaign event.

“On the heels of one negative story after another highlighting the poor state of Louisiana’s economy under the leadership of Governor Edwards, the Governor appears to have organized this summit for the benefit of his re-election efforts on the taxpayer’s dime,” said Chairman Louis Gurvich. “Our elected leaders should not be using taxpayer funds to further their personal political objectives. The timing and choice of speakers at this summit raises serious questions for Governor Edwards, and the people of Louisiana deserve answers.”

A Brief Timeline of Negative News Stories:

January 28 – “In a November 2015 debate, both Edwards and his Republican runoff challenger, then-U.S. Sen. David Vitter, said they wouldn’t raise tax rates on businesses or individuals. They talked of very similar plans to make government more efficient, remove protections that keep some areas of the budget off-limits to cuts and scale back tax break programs. Tax rates under Edwards, however, were raised.” (AP: In re-election bid, Edwards to face tax scrutiny)

January 30 – Louisiana ranked the worst state in the country for where to find a job. (Zippia: THESE ARE THE 10 BEST STATES IN AMERICA FOR JOBS)

January 30 – “Until then we live with Gov. Edwards’ ‘Texas Plan’ that was evident in a post by Baton Rouge ex-pat Branon Pesnell, who now does real estate in Houston: ‘I am one of the 55,000 who moved out of the state (2016-2018) partly because of this type of short-sighted thinking. Decisions like this will have long-term impact on the Louisiana’s ability to recruit and keep business. The door is open in Texas, come on in!’” (Greater Baton Rouge Business Journal: Publisher: Governor’s ITEP change helps Texas)

February 4 – “Stephen Waguespack, president of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, said Monday at the Press Club of Baton Rouge [ITEP] is ‘broken’…” (Advocate: LABI, Louisiana's largest business lobby, wants changes for ITEP tax)

February 4 – “But Edwards isn’t interested in changing the rules, saying Louisiana remains competitive in business development.” (AP: Louisiana leaders divided on industrial tax break)

February 9 – “Even when watered down by a Republican-led Legislature, his policies over the past three years have produced tax hikes and 40 percent higher state spending. Louisiana has one of the worst economies in the country with almost no net new jobs created.” (Advocate: Jeff Sadow: Look behind the spin put on Gov. Edward's polling numbers)

February 13 – John Bel Edwards announces Louisiana Statewide Business Summit (Advocate:Louisiana Statewide Business Summit to highlight economic development success stories

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