The debate about the merits of continuing the cigarette tax was settled before it started. The governor is simply wrong on this issue. He said so himself in 1997.

What is now at issue is the failure of the Legislature to override the governor’s clearly misguided veto. The truly unsettling thing about what happened is the craven way in which 11 legislators kowtowed to the governor.

They owed him deference, they said. They owed him respect. He is, after all, the governor. We might overlook the converse of this rationalization; that is, the disrespect to the voters inherent in it.

What cannot be overlooked is the fact that this backward flip by 11 legislators represents the complete opposite of democracy.

It is the executive who should show deference to the people through their elected representatives, not the other way around. The unctuous “deference” shown by legislators to the governor is not only unseemly, it is anti-democratic.

Legislators are given a great trust by the voters to represent their interest, not the governor’s. The 11 who abandoned their constituents to curry favor with an irresponsible and dogmatic governor have betrayed that trust and should resign.

Michael F. Russo


Baton Rouge