Politics

Politics
2:33 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Even Without Earmarks, Tax Breaks And Special Deals Fill Bills

Tourists take photographs in front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 2, the day after Congress passed a bill to avoid the fiscal cliff.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 11:28 am

Congress likes to say it no longer does earmarks, the provisions that direct federal dollars to serve local interests or campaign supporters. And though that may be true, it's also a fact that targeted provisions are still useful in moving legislation — even critical legislation like the bill that pulled Washington back from the fiscal cliff last month.

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Politics
4:06 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Tax Rebate Proposals May Move to Odd Years

Louisiana lawmakers are limited to what topics they may consider when - one senator hopes his amendment would better categorize tax rebates.
Credit Jack Cox

State Sen. Dan Claitor wants to add tax rebates to the list of matters that can only be considered in odd-numbered years, when the constitution mandates lawmakers take up fiscal issues. Generally, even-numbered years are reserved for non-fiscal deliberations. The constitutional amendment would require two-thirds approval in the legislature and a vote of the people.

Tax exclusions, exemptions, deductions, credits, and refunds are already limited to fiscal years.

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Politics
3:57 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Legislators Again Aim for Executive Branch Transparency

Lawmakers will consider a bill that could curtail the Governor's privilege to classify documents.

After running on a platform of increased transparency, the Gov. Bobby Jindal has relied on a law that shields gubernatorial documents from public view to dodge open records requests from the press.


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Politics
12:26 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Vitter's New Clout Could Bring Changes to Army Corps

The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for many flood control projects around the state - like the Morganza floodway.
Credit US Army Corps of Engineers

The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets Thursday to discuss reforms to the Army Corps of Engineers.

One of Louisiana’s senators, David Vitter, now sits as the ranking minority member of the committee.

Vitter saif the Corps has a history of putting projects on the back burner because of cost and bureaucratic entanglements.

“Important projects take twenty years or more, deadlines are almost never met,” Vitter said. “It’s just one paper shuffle after another.”

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Politics
9:36 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Tobacco Tax Could Nearly Close Budget Gap

Credit Geierunite / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Bobby Jindal's tax reform proposals may include raising the tobacco excise tax. Health officials have suggested raising the tax by a dollar per pack. A study shows raising the tax by that much would raise $223 million a year – that’s almost enough to have closed this year’s $240 million budget gap. 

Jindal has said his tax reforms would be revenue neutral, replacing the income tax with higher sales tax.

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Politics
3:03 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Black Justice Sworn in as Supreme Court Chief

Louisiana Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson
Credit Louisiana Supreme Court

Her honor Bernette J. Johnson was sworn in as Louisiana's first African American chief justice Friday morning. Johnson was only able to take her seat after two civil rights lawsuits.

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Politics
4:30 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

First Bills Take Up Gun Regulations

State legislators are likely to consider gun regulation next session - but a recent constitutional amendment might hamper lawmaking.
Credit Alex C. Balla

Legislators have begun filing their bills for the upcoming session. The first three take up gun regulation.

 Because this is an odd-numbered year, legislators will concentrate on tax and appropriation bills. But each legislator is allowed to file five bills on other topics. Gun regulation is likely to be a recurring theme. 

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Fiscal Hawks
5:40 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Proposals Offered to Fix Holes in State Budget Process

A coalition of state representatives is pushing a slew of bills and amendments to reform Louisiana’s budget process. The lawmakers are fed up with rushed legislation, cutting higher education and healthcare year after year, and procedural tomfoolery.

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State Pensions
6:34 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Pension Actuaries Make Quick Return to Capitol

The state employee retirement reforms Gov. Bobby Jindal pushed last session were overturned in court last week. Monday, a state committee heard testimony about changes to the firefighters' retirement system that could be considered by the legislature this spring.

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Road to 2016
6:05 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Dollars will Show Success of Jindal's National Stumping

FILE: Gov. Bobby Jindal speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. in 2011.
Credit Gage Skidmore

Gov. Bobby Jindal spent the weekend in Washington, D.C., attracting widespread attention with a set of speeches. Many national pundits think Jindal is laying groundwork for a presidential bid in 2016.

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