Gov. Bobby Jindal followed through with his promise to veto the renewal of a 4-cent state tax on cigarettes, characterizing it as a new tax. It was an existing tax set to expire, but that’s just semantics. Now we’ll see if Jindal can marshal his formidable power of persuasion (read, threaten to block public works projects) with some within the overwhelming majority of Republican lawmakers in both the Senate and House who voted for the renewal. Jindal only needs to peel off a few — literally one from the House and four from the Senate — to prevent an override of his veto.
Lawmakers, especially within the GOP, are in something of a pickle: While the tax only generates $12 million annually, that’s still $12 million that will have to be cut elsewhere if the tax is not renewed through a veto override. Any lawmaker who voted for the renewal and then wilts under pressure from the governor’s office — Jindal has called the veto “personal” and has appeal to his fellow Republicans to back him — is agreeing to cut $12 million from the budget in order to lower the price of cigarettes. How do you spin that with voters back home?
As columnist James Gill observed about Jindal in Sunday’s Times-Picayune:
[T]he principle on which he has elected to stand is a highly perverse one, and his main concern remains himself. ...Jindal, in his quest to lower the price of cigarettes in Louisiana, is not only bucking public opinion but setting himself up to be the first governor in decades to suffer the indignity of a legislative override. He is evidently willing to pay the price of maintaining an anti-tax stance even when it defies all reason. Say tax, and Jindal will jump up and shake his head. Pavlov would approve.
Today’s Advocate has more on the veto and possible override, as well as a link to a 1997 article Jindal, then secretary of the state Department of Health and Hospitals, penned for the Louisiana State Medical Society calling for higher sales taxes on cigarettes to offset the cost of health care for smokers. Jindal on Monday declined to comment on the article or what his apparently his ideologically driven one-80 on the issue.
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AUG 29 Everyone who cares about Louisiana should take time to peruse this story about coastal loss from Bob Marshall of The Lens. It's not enough to call it a story; it's an interactive experience packed with data and amazing graphics, timelines, history, photos and excellent writing. Set aside some time, because you can't go through this one in a few minutes.
JUN 29 This bizarre story from the Advocate on the shooting of a Baton Rouge television personality reads like the script of a soap opera - but not a good one. The allegations against him include sexual abuse of children, including the alleged shooter, and a sham immigration marriage involving his own daughter. The other side? He was a chaplin for the Sheriff's Office in Baton Rouge and preached in a local church.
AUG 29 Here's a story from CBS News about a killer amoeba found in the water system of St. John the Baptist Parish. The story made all three networks (CBS, ABC, NBC) as well as Fox "News," although they have not yet found out how it is Obama's fault. Seriously, the good news is that so far officials know of no one sickened by the water.
AUG 29 Huffington Post has a blog called Love Letters, which is grandly described as "an anthology of reflections on places the world over." This entry is from LSU Football Coach Les Miles, who, it appears, loves Baton Rouge. (Of course he does; he's a rich straight white man.) And certainly Baton Rouge loves him - unless he loses (ask Curley "Golden Flake" Hallman about that) or leaves (ask Nick Saban).
AUG 29 Blogger Bob Mann comments here upon Governor Bobby Jindal's federal lawsuit about Common Core. Mann calls it a "thinly veiled campaign document" and that might be the nicest thing he says in this post. Most troubling for Jindal and his aspirations, Mann has unearthed what Bobby said just a few years ago when he first decided to shove Common Core down our throats.
AUG 29 Blogger Tom Aswell has several developments here related to the so-called Edmonson amendment. The most entertaining one is possibly Tom's acknowledgement that a State Police official is (allegedly) calling the bloggers covering the story some colorful names. Listen up, cowboy: You really think two veterans like Tom Aswell and CB Forgotston care if you call them idiots?
AUG 29 Gotta love those journalists who write something with the enthusiasm that implies they're the first one to figure something out. Mostly, they're not. This is one of those times; the post on Slate Magazine says that Bobby Jindal's Common Core lawsuit is a political stunt. Well - Duh.
AUG 29 This story by WVLA tells us about a guy who got busted for speeding in Baton Rouge. Who cares? This guy took that infraction to new heights by going 129 miles per hour on Nicholson Drive. Poor fella - he probably has spent so much time sitting in Baton Rouge traffic he just had to cut lose.
AUG 28 As the controversy surrounding the Office of Group Benefits intensifies, blogger Tom Aswell gives us some background on the current problems. The OGB, which handles health insurance for current and retired state employees, is deep in the red since it was privatized by Jindal, and Aswell gives us the skinny: this great plan was designed by ALEC. The company handling it? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana - a longtime member of ALEC.
AUG 28 Blogger CB Forgotston has a concept for a new reality show: the wives of the "Dork Dynasty." That's the name that some troopers have given to State Police Commander Mike Edmonson and his inner circle. The ladies CB has picked for his cast are not just housewives, however, and the connections here are pretty interesting.
AUG 28 Blogger Ian McGibboney is writing about the strife in Ferguson in this post, and articulating what many people down south are saying. There's a fairy tale about how there's tons of racism in the South, but it's all hunky dory up North. (Really? Look again.)
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