In yet another indication that taxes of any kind to deal with the looming budget deficit are a nearly impossible sell this session, a bill that would have taxed natural gas flowing through the state was killed in a House committee Monday. The Advocate reports that the House Committee on Ways and Means involuntarily deferred House Bill 436 by state Rep. Reed Henderson, D-Violet, thanks to what Henderson called political pressure from the Jindal administration to make sure lawmakers didn’t push the bill through to the full House floor for debate:
The money generated would have gone into a Fair Share Fund and then would have been divvied up among state government expenses.
Henderson said the state has provided much of the country’s energy needs over the past 100 years without getting much in return.
Through a companion bill, voters would have been asked to amend the state constitution in October to authorize a tax on natural gas transported in Louisiana. To go before voters, the proposal first would have to be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature.
One of the only people who testified in support of the bill was Louisiana Association of Educators Executive Director Michael Walker-Jones, who told the committee that the $3 billion a year in new revenue could make the state less dependent on federal grants and less financially depressed.
The majority of those who attended the hearing were opposed to the bill and say the new taxes on natural gas would hurt the boom in investment in the industry, particularly in north Louisiana with the Haynesville Shale.
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DEC 18 Here's a story in Newsweek about the Bayou Corne sinkhole (warning: autoplay video here). It is a long, detailed, very comprehensive story. It's definitely more comprehensive than the local media coverage to date. There's a lot of information about the sinkhole (new information, really) but there's also a look at the phenomenon of "Cancer Alley."
DEC 18 A recent poll of possible gubernatorial candidates has Sen. David Vitter in the lead, Jeremy Alford writes on LaPolitics. He's polling at 25 percent, followed by Mitch Landrieu at 20 percent and Jay Dardenne at 12 percent. Here's what Jeremy didn't address: did Vitter interrupt his prayerful consideration to look at these results? The world may never know. Here's something else, that we will know, eventually: how soon before the first commercial mentioning the unmentionable airs?
DEC 18 Blogger Robert Mann has some advice for Governor Jindal: take your own. Mann pulls out some 2008 quotes from the governor on health care for the poor and contrasts them against the governor's more recent actions (or inaction) in the same arena. Part of the plan? Expand Medicaid. Wait -- what??
DEC 18 Here's a sweet post on Gambit by Ken Bode about the passing of George Rodrigue. Bode met the artist 30 years ago, and has a lot of funny stories about his friend. One of the best is how much George laughed over learning that President Clinton re-gifted a set of Blue Dog earrings -- to Ken Starr. The portrait Bode paints here is one of a man who loved life, and was constantly reminding the rest of us that we should, too.
DEC 18 Conservative blogger Rod Dreher doesn't usually agree with The Advocate (the national publication, which is the largest gay magazine in the country) but in this post he does. The Advocate, like Time, has named Pope Francis its person of the year. Punctuating that are some recent moves the Pontiff has made, including the removal of a vocally anti-gay Bishop from a position of power. As usual, Dreher gives us a lot of information and raises questions, encouraging readers to think it over. But he does agree with the Advocate's selection, calling it "a savvy choice."
DEC 18 Ever since a recall election put an end to the ongoing Deedy vs. Hootie saga over in Port Allen, the City Council has been working hard to prove all the problems didn't rest with former mayor, Deedy Slaughter, by failing to appoint her temporary replacement. Gov. Jindal was stuck with the job, so he picked a former mayor to take over the reins. Let's hope that lady is eating her Wheaties; she's gonna need the energy.
DEC 18 Blogger Tom Aswell seems to hear all the good rumors, and this one is a really good one: there's a plan to get Sen. David Vitter elected governor and then appoint Gov. Bobby Jindal to serve out the last year of Vitter's Senate term. Hey, that's a great idea, and if there's anything Bobby has made clear, it's that he would prefer to live in DC anyway.
DEC 18 If a Reveillion Dinner is part of your holiday tradition, this post in NOLA Defender is for you. The blog gives a list, including menus, of some of the best ones in the city. They've even got prices and numbers to call to make reservations.
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