On Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards presented a balanced state budget for next year, which he is required to do by law. TOPS, along with other constituent favorites, is being drastically cut because constitutional constraints protect other entities from fiscal cuts. This latest draconian budget is a culmination of a systematic ploy by our Republican legislators to put politics over morality by attempting to make Edwards look as “bad” as possible so that they can win the governorship back at election time.

Our esteemed Republican legislators, along with our past Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, were totally responsible for this fiscal mess and have had over seven months to permanently solve the fiscal boondoggle that our state faces. Last session, they enacted “kick the can down the road’ temporary taxes on businesses and citizens that balanced last year’s budget. These all expire July 1st.

For the entire past year, our Republican legislators blamed these new taxes on the governor. They seem to have forgotten the state constitution which specifies that any revenue generating measures must originate with the House legislators, who along with the Senate, formulate and pass such measures. The governor’s office can propose whatever it desires, but it is both houses of the Legislature which formulate the revenue bills and make them laws. They can even pass such laws over the governor’s objection.

Last year the legislators agreed to raise the sales tax and business taxes hoping that not only would this plug the fiscal gap but have the additional benefit of associating our Democratic governor with the stereotype of a tax-raising Democrat.

Apparently, their new plan is to propose no fiscal solutions and end up making the temporary taxes, permanent, which they will continue to attribute to Edwards in an attempt to further impugn the governor’s image. All of this buffoonery is simply “blame game” politics, just like in our nation’s capital. It’s all about further polarizing and dividing our society. It has nothing to do with finding realistic solutions to the problems at hand.

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Our legislators simply don’t want to do anything that might make a Democrat governor “look good.” God forbid they should work with our governor and produce an actual solution.

We are the ones who will suffer the most. Remember all this the next time you go to the polls.

Jim Anderson

retired educator

Ponchatoula

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