Government & Politics
Jindal tradition: Faulty revenue estimates lead to mid-year budget slashing — The Lens | Perceptive article by political reporter Tyler Bridges that inspects the reasons behind the chronic mid-year budget shortfalls during Gov. Bobby Jindal’s time in office.
D.O.A.: The demise of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax plan — Gambit | Some legislators are concerned that the hoopla over Jindal’s lifeless tax-swap plan obscured state budget issues. “This year’s [legislative] session may well be remembered for the budget it produces, not the tax plans it studied but did not pass.”
Reports of the death of Jindal’s income-tax repeal are greatly exaggerated — The National Review Online | Notice that author Patrick Gleason has reframed Jindal’s tax swap as “income tax repeal.” That’s a more accurate assessment of Jindal’s policy intentions, in my view. The income tax cut was always the key plank of the swap. The rest of the Jindal’s initial proposal — the simplifications, the sales tax hikes, loophole closures and other revenue offsets— were always highly-negotiable window-dressing.
Speaker endorses phase-out of state income tax in first press conference of legislative session — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | House Speaker Chuck Kleckley now favors a bill that phases out state income tax rates over ten years, beginning in 2015. The two year window prior to implementation “would give lawmakers time to study the plan and recognize its positives and negatives before implementation, he said.” So … he wants to pass the repeal first and then figure out how to pay for it? That’s how it works now? Recall that last week Kleckley told the Jindal administration, “We need precise and exact numbers, and until then we’re not moving forward on the [tax swap] bill.” The sums in play are considerable.
Former T-P Pulitzer winner Bob Marshall wins Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | A very well-deserved honor for Marshall, though the article failed to mention he now covers environmental issues for The Lens .
“Bob Marshall is one of the finest journalists in The Times-Picayune’s 175-year history. I think he was the best in the 29 years I have been there,” said Jim Kleinpeter, the LSWA president and a colleague of Marshall’s on the Times-Picayune sports staff.
EPA nominee promises Vitter more transparency — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Vitter criticized the Environmental Protection Agency for having a “climate of secrecy.”
Vitter won some backing for his chargers of EPA secrecy from the Society of Environmental Journalists — 1,350 reporters and editors who specialize in environmental coverage. The group issued a statement that said reporters face substantial hurdles getting their questions answered about air pollution, water quality, oil and gas operations and other issues.
Busy 2013 hurricane season predicted by Colorado State meteorologists — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | If you’re like Han Solo, and never want to be told the odds, better skip ahead to the next news link. “For New Orleans, the chance of one or more named storms making landfall [in 2013] is 7 percent, compared to the long-term average of 4.1 percent. The chance is even higher, 10.6 percent, in Plaquemines Parish, and lower, 3.8 percent, in Jefferson Parish. However, the probability of tropical storm force winds of 40 mph or greater is 48.9 percent in all three parishes. That compares to the long-term average of 31.9 percent.”
Treme neighbor of collapsed doubles sees pattern in housing nonprofit’s mismanagement — The Lens
Cindy Kueffer, who runs a bed and breakfast across the street, sees a pattern behind the sudden and startling collapse yesterday of two vintage doubles in the city’s Treme neighborhood.
She blames Providence Community Housing, the owner of the ruined properties, and says several other Providence holdings have been dogged by problems that suggest poor management.
Plan to open Plaza Tower garage to public parking wins final City Council OK — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell urged passage of an ordinance that “requires the owners to submit plans for the ‘full redevelopment’ of the Plaza Tower site within two years, or the authorization for the [parking] garage will expire on Aug. 1, 2015. Detailed plans for the garage must be submitted within one year.”
If you live in an old house, chances are your child is at risk for lead poisoning — The Lens | An interview on an important public health menace. (However, I would take issue with the claim that lead paint is the prime danger. Studies by environmental researcher Howard Mielke demonstrate that lead-polluted soils pose a larger risk than old paint.)
State posts record-high graduation rate for 2012 — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | In addition, graduation rates for the Recovery School District in New Orleans have risen impressively, from about 50 percent in 2009-10 to over two-thirds in 2011-12.
Tulane Senate bans tobacco – The Tulane Hullabaloo | The Tulane University Senate unanimously approved a smoke-free policy “which bans all tobacco products on all Tulane campuses, [and] is set to take effect in three phases, with an education and marketing stage, issued-warnings stage and final-enforcement stage spanning the next 18 months.”
Concern for Sheriff Marlin Gusman shouldn’t trump concern for his prisoners — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | Columnist Jarvis DeBerry says Gusman is wrong to imply that his critics have racist motivations. “The people who brought suit against the jail — and thus, have questioned [Gusman’s] leadership and ability in court — have a strong record of civil rights advocacy and expressed concern for the imprisoned. His criticism of them just doesn’t stick.”
At 83, Orleans coroner Frank Minyard still not sure he’s ready to pack it in — NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune | The coroner says, “If I could find somewhere else to serve, some other capacity, I would definitely retire because this office needs a younger man. … It needs someone who is computer literate, digitally literate. I am not. I am borderline, you might say.”