LA Sen. Conrad Appel

“At this point, we do not have the luxury of amending this bill,” Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs chairman J.P. Morrell told the Senate, so on this final day of the special session, House Bill 50 was considered without an expected amendment that could have raised another $88-million.

“House Bill 50 simply changes the way the capital gains tax is able to be refunded,” Jennings Senator Blade Morris explained.

Sales tax on Girl Scout cookies, on sodas sold by band boosters at high school football games, even sales tax on tickets to public radio events: all are what are being termed “unforeseen consequences of the suspension of sales tax exemption.”

That’s the so-called “cleaning” of the sales tax pennies passed during the first special session, earlier this year.

“The idea is to put all these various groups back the way they were before that session,” Senator J.P. Morrell explains.

How Many Reports?

May 17, 2016

“I’ve seen a lot of times where, you know, we get a report and don’t even open ‘em,” Senator Bret Allain told the Finance committee Monday.

They were considering one of more than two dozen bills and resolutions filed by lawmakers seeking more reports – on everything from college athletics costs to the possibility of reversing chemical abortions.

Questioning the Vision

May 2, 2016

“I hear nothing from the governor’s office on where he wants to take this state,” Senator Conrad Appel of Metairie complains. “Where is the guiding light? Where is the direction that this state is going in these big policy areas that have long-term implications?”

Appel’s criticism is perhaps understandable, since he was one of Governor Bobby Jindal’s legislative lieutenants, spearheading education reforms in 2012.

I asked Governor John Bel Edwards to respond.

It’s been discussed and studied, more than once.

“I got a nice report, plenty of paper. Nothing’s happened.”

So Senator Conrad Appel  of Metairie says it’s time to consolidate governance of Louisiana higher education.

“My bill is to go with one board – one single board.”

Appel says lawmakers have tried to help Higher Ed do more with less, but, “I don’t see any progress. I don’t see any possibility of progress. And I don’t see any mo’ money.”