Every Man a King

Following the Money in the Governor's Race

Oct 9, 2015
S. Lincoln

As we’ve been examining the issues and the candidates’ stances in the governor’s race, we’ve made more than a few comparisons to the Huey Long era of Louisiana’s history. Many of the issues in the current governor’s race may be the same as in Huey Long’s day, but there’s one huge difference this year: the money involved.

“He’s got zillions of dollars. He’ll continue to have zillions of dollars. He leans on people from his position as a senator. He’s been able to raise a lot of money in his Super PAC, and a lot of money individually.”

Jay Dardenne is talking about David Vitter. With one month to go to the election, Dardenne’s campaign finance report showed $1.6-million in the bank. Vitter had $7-miilion on hand; $4-million in his campaign fund and $3-million in his Super PAC.

Will Governor Candidates "Share Our Wealth"?

Oct 8, 2015

As we look ahead to deciding on the next governor of Louisiana, we’ve been also looking back, taking a cue from Huey Long, known for the “Share our Wealth” plan under the motto, “Every Man a King”.

Jan Moller with the Louisiana Budget Project points out that every issue that plagues the state – and the reason we end up on the bottom of so many “good” lists – can be traced back to Louisiana’s ranking as the third poorest state in the nation.


Candidates Expect Colleges to Fill Business Needs

Oct 7, 2015

Sometimes it seems like the Jindal administration has been all about wooing business and industry, and then keeping them happy. What do those hoping to succeed Jindal plan to do in the way of economic development?

“My administration will focus on job creation and economic development,” Scott Angelle says. “We have made great progress in that area, but I think we need to do more.”

David Vitter also says it will be an important goal, if he’s elected governor.

“I would continue that focus on economic growth and job creation, but shift it a little bit: not focused any more on incentives, but focused on capacity building.”

We’re far past the days when Huey Long won the governorship by promising free school textbooks for every child. Now it’s all about education reform. Where do today’s candidates stand?

“We label a lot of things in Louisiana ‘reform’, that don’t really offer or deliver much improvement,” says Democrat John Bel Edwards, who opposed the 2012 state education reforms, including school choice. The Republicans all support school choice.

LA DOTD

Louisiana’s backlog of unfunded road and bridge projects sits at between $12-billion and $14-billion. How do the candidates for governor propose to catch up, and pay for new roadwork needs?

“Make it a priority in the Capital Outlay Budget, so that we’re going to provide particular projects in Capital Outlay a much higher percentage than we have right now to go to the backlog and the problem of preventive maintenance and road repair,” Jay Dardenne says.

Next Governor Has No Wealth for Health

Oct 2, 2015

Health care funding bleeds the most when Louisiana’s budget is in the red. Since it appears the scalpel will be wielded for some time yet to come, how do gubernatorial candidates plan to stitch Louisiana’s health care together?

”I would accept the Medicaid expansion, and I would do it very early in my administration,” John Bel Edwards says, adding that it makes fiscal sense. “They’re our tax dollars that are going to other states.”

David Vitter is more reserved about accepting the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

“I have not taken off the table — I’ve been very clear about this — expanding coverage under the Medicaid program.” But, Vitter says he would set conditions for doing so.

www.selu.edu

Higher education in Louisiana has been steadily dealt the budget axe, even as the state worked to grow its community and technical college system. How do the candidates for governor plan to fund higher ed, with continued budget shortfalls expected?

David Vitter says he’ll just put a halt to the problem.

“Higher ed has been cut and cut and cut, that has to stop, pure and simple. That's why I would start my administration with a special session on spending reform and tax reform to stop that never-ending cycle of cuts.”

epa.gov

For many, Louisiana’s environmental concerns start at the coast. Certainly, all four of the main gubernatorial candidates agree it’s a crucial issue.

“For our very survival, one of those key challenges is protecting and restoring and stabilizing the coast,” David Vitter says.

Jay Dardenne goes further.

“There is no greater threat to Louisiana than the loss of our coastline. It affects Shreveport and Chicago as much as it does Chackbay and other places along the coast.”

“It threatens many things that are special about Louisiana, including our fisheries, our wildlife, tourism, oil and gas,” John Bel Edwards elaborates.

To Tax or Not to Tax? Answering the Questions

Sep 29, 2015
Sue Lincoln

How are the candidates for governor planning to fix the state’s deficit—and what will that mean for the taxes you pay? Thus far, Scott Angelle, Jay Dardenne, John Bel Edwards and David Vitter have offered more generalities than specifics.


Budget Not "Enough for All People to Share"

Sep 28, 2015
Sue Lincoln

While campaign songs may be “so last century”, many of the same issues that prompted Huey Long to pen “Every Man a King” still plague Louisiana more than 80 years later. A line in the song says, “There’s enough for all people to share,” yet Louisiana’s on-going budget problems contradict that sentiment. For the men who would be king -- the candidates for governor – the state’s budget problems dwarf everything else.

“The budget is going to be the first, second and third topics for the next governor to deal with,” Louisiana Budget Project director Jan Moller says, noting last year’s budget, the current budget, and next year’s budget are all in the red.