If John N. Kennedy's really gearing up to run for governor, he's going to have to do better than his post-special session broadside against the man he'd hope to unseat, Gov. John Bel Edwards. Which is one reason my gut still tells me that, in the end, the freshman U.S. senator will sit the 2019 election out.
Fingers are pointing all over the place in the wake of the session's implosion, after the Democratic governor and Republican Legislature failed to raise any money to replace the $1 billion or so in sales tax revenue that's scheduled to expire June 30. About $300 million extra is expected to come in as a side-effect of the federal tax cut that Kennedy and other Washington Republicans supported, but that still leaves at least a $700 million gap.
Or maybe not, to hear Kennedy tell it.
The special session's slow-moving collapse has come to an end at the Louisiana Capitol with the state no closer to bridging a looming budget g…
U.S. Sen. John Kennedy on Tuesday accused Gov. John Bel Edwards of trying to tax the state into prosperity and said Louisiana voters do not be…
His contribution to the discussion amounted to this: Voters "are getting tired of these so-called fiscal crises and fiscal cliffs. … I think the people of Louisiana seem to think we have a fiscal cliff every Thursday. And frankly, they don't believe it anymore."
Far more likely, they understand the reality that it's a not a new crisis every week, it's the same old crisis they've been hearing about for two years because lawmakers haven't mustered the will to address it. Being tired of it — and face it, we all are — and not believing it exists are not the same thing.
Kennedy also questioned why Edwards can't find another $250 million savings in the $29 billion budget. But even if he did, that would leave $450 million in cuts to higher education and health care. What does he propose the state do about that? Short the TOPS college scholarships, or the public private hospital partnerships, or families who rely upon state help to care for severely disabled children at home? Somehow he and his allies never seem to say.
Besides, the legislative compromise that failed would have raised about $300 million, so even if the session had been successful, some cuts would have been likely anyway.
Of course, it's typical of Kennedy to offer a specious quip or two rather than propose constructive solutions. And he gets to do it only because his job in Washington absolves him of the hard work of balancing state revenue against the cost of providing the level of government that people want.
Tell me again why he'd want to give that up?