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Education Overhaul
5:37 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Watching the Charter School Movement Play Out

Credit Bloomsbury Press

Journalist Sarah Carr spent a year chronicling the lives of a skeptical teenager, a fresh-faced teacher, and a veteran principal in three separate charter schools in New Orleans for her new book, “Hope Against Hope.”

Some of the same players who orchestrated the makeover of public education in the Crescent City after Hurricane Katrina are trying to do the same thing in Baton Rouge, without the prompting of a natural disaster.

Supporters of the movement hold up charter schools as the salvation of American education. Critics say the overhaul will lead to its ruination. What Carr found was a lot of gray.


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Tax Reforms
4:28 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Tax Reform Risks Local Services, Tax Elections

Do you pay your neighbor's son to mow your lawn? Under Gov. Jindal's tax plan, he may legally have to add a sales tax to his total. -But that's only if that service is approved to be taxed by the parish you live in, according to the state constitution.
Credit flickr.com/idiolector/

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are voicing their skepticism of Governor Bobby Jindal’s tax overhauls. The forum this morning: an annual pre-session briefing hosted by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

Jim Patterson of LABI kicked off the presentation with what he’s heard from legislators about their private talks with Governor regarding his still unreleased tax overhauls. "[Gov. Jindal] does want to conform the local sales tax base to the state tax base," Patterson said. "This will help local governments to absorb what are going to be some relegation of services by the state to them.


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Affordable Care Act
1:51 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Failure To Expand Medicaid To Directly Effect Low-To-Moderate Income New Orleans Residents

Gov. Bobby Jindal has remained steadfast thus far in his opposition to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act saying it’s too expensive and that Medicaid is an outdated, inflexible program. 

Not expanding Medicaid it will have a direct effect on low-to-moderate income New Orleanians.

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State Budget 2013
3:01 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Fiscal Hawks to Pick at Budget

The group of legislators that routinely opposes Governor Bobby Jindal's use of one-time money in his proposed budgets met over the weekend, and may soon have an alternate way to fund some of higher education's budget. 

Last year, the fiscal hawks proposed over $160 million of cuts to lower priority areas of the budget. Representative Kirk Talbot, a leader of the group, says those weren’t considered until the mid-year shortfall. They’ll try again this year.


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State Budget 2013
2:06 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Dept. of Health and Hospitals Proposed Budget Depends on Contingencies

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed $24.7 billion state budget for the next fiscal year seemingly leaves the state Department of Health and Hospitals relatively unscathed.

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Politics
5:26 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Jindal Budget Questioned by Ally

A group of thirty legislators have vocally opposed use of "one-time funds" in Jindal's budget. Now opposition is coming from legislators that have been closer to the governor.

 Governor Bobby Jindal wants to utilize one-time funds to keep the state afloat. Jindal's proposed budget was unveiled Friday to the Legislature's Joint Committee on the Budget.

The Governor's budget it $24.7 billion in size. One-time funds make up only $424 million of it – but last year, the budget’s use of one-time funds was smaller than that, and those funds not coming through were partially to blame for mid-year budget cuts.


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Tax Reform
7:25 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Jindal Plans Media Campaign For Tax Swap Proposal, But Why Now?

Governor Bobby Jindal wants to eliminate the state income tax and make up for the lost revenue by increasing state sales taxes. He is seeking money to run a media campaign in support of his proposal.

But Louisianians are not likely to be asked to vote on the tax reforms until late 2014. So why lobby support from the general public now?  

WRKF’s Ashley Westerman put that question to LSU professor and director of the Manship School’s Public Policy Research Lab Kirby Goidel.


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State Budget
6:06 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Billion Dollar Decrease in Proposed Budget

Gov. Bobby Jindal invited the press to the Governor's Mansion for a brief preview of his budget, which will be unveiled in full Friday morning before the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.

The budget totals $24.7 billion. The governor says that's a billion dollar decrease from last year.

The Dept. of Health and Hospitals will see a cut of about $50 million because of a drop in federal funds. Jindal says the budget for higher education will see reductions because of the privatization of some of LSU’s hospitals, but not in other areas.

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Super Bowl 2013
12:37 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

BR Hotels Rake In $2.54 Million Over Super Bowl Weekend

Super Bowl XLVIIgenerated a major boost for Baton Rouge tourism. That’s according to Smith Travel Research, which tracks hotel occupancy nationwide, and capital city tourism officials are pleased with the numbers.

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Politics
6:08 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

John Bel Edwards: First Horse in 2015 La. Governor's Race

John Bel Edwards is the Louisiana House Minority Leader, and may be the only democratic candidate for governor in 2015.
Credit Louisiana House of Representatives

 Louisiana House Minority Leader, John Bel Edwards, threw his hat into the ring for the next gubernatorial race Wednesday morning on the Jim Engster Show

Edwards may see a fundraising advantage by announcing this early, but has a lot to overcome.

Other potential candidates include fellow democrat New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, and republicans US Senator David Vitter, Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne, and State Treasurer John Kennedy.


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