October 22 Constitutional Amendments

Thanks to the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana for recently releasing their guide of the pros and cons of each amendment. Below you will find the nolatarian perspective for each. You can view the LA-PAR guide here.

1. Funding TOPS & Sustaining Cigarette Tax Revenue

I will be voting AGAINST this amendment primarily because it places into the state constitution a permanent tax of $0.04 on all cigarette pack sales. Not only do I feel that it is inappropriate to lock a “sin tax” into the constitution, but it is attached to the TOPS funding bill as an attempt to get around the vetoing of a bill by Gov. Jindal that will allow this tax to expire on June 30, 2012. Also, there are 2 problems with this “sin tax.” First, theses taxes traditionally are lousy sources of revenue as evidenced in LA by about a $500,000 a year decrease of funds raised due to declining cigarette sales. Which brings us to the second point; I highly doubt $0.04/pack is enough to keep cigarette users from continuing their habit/vice, so the drop in sales is most likely due to increased education on the dangers of smoking which means the tax is unnecessary anyway. certainly is unnecessary to lock it into the constitution.

2. Reducing the Financial Liability of State Retirement Systems

I will be voting AGAINST this amendment due to the potential for unintended consequences. The legislature already has the flexibility to make extra payments to pay down the UAL, which has been taken advantage of in past years. The main question boils down to your belief of whether the legislature will, when given the opportunity by budget surpluses choose to make extra payments to the UAL instead of other allowable purposes. Also, there’s the possibility that the mandated payment will be viewed similarly as a credit card minimum payment which will not accomplish significant progress in paying down the UAL. Typically, I would not prefer to trust the legislature to pay down the debt instead of use surpluses for other potentially questionable purposes, but in this case I would rather the flexibility remain for effective lawmakers to be creative in maximizing budget surpluses for the greatest budgetary good.

3. Protecting the Patient’s Compensation Fund

I will be voting FOR this amendment. This issue is extremely specific so lets not get wrapped up in the debates surrounding the entirety of the Medical Malpractice suit law. I favor the amendment because it prevents a potential issue of the legislature taking funds for general budget purposes. I would not want to be the patient that finds out the funds that were supposed to be in place to cover my injuries from medical malpractice weren’t there because the legislature needed to cover expenses for some other budgetary need. Again, a worst case scenario, but other states have taken money from these funds in the past.

4. Managing the Budget Stabilization Rainy Day Fund

I will be voting AGAINST this amendment. First, this will allow the Supreme Court to rule on whether a similar statute is constitutional instead of just changing the constitution to fit the statute. Secondly, this will force the legislature to pay back the emergency fund quicker so as to help ensure that the fund is only used for true emergencies.
5. Updating the Census Change in a New Orleans Sales Tax Law

I will be voting FOR this amendment. The old language does need to be updated and the current law already provides a balance that protects the original property owner and concerns by neighbors about “blight” by giving the owner before the auction 3 years after the auction to pay the back taxes and reclaim their property.

A full breakdown of the individual races is coming soon. Stay tuned!!

Cao Says “Ciao” to Race For Attorney General

According to multiple reports, Joseph Cao has dropped out of the race for Louisiana Attorney General. Thus, one term incumbent, Buddy Caldwell wins reelection, making this the 9th uncontested race on our Oct 22 ballot.

As a reminder, a full breakdown on all races and constitutional amendments is coming the first week of October. Stay tuned!

Two Quick Things

First, the race for State Representative in District 98 just became less crowded as Evan Wolf and Myron Katz dropped out. This leaves incumbent Neil Abramson to be challenged by John “Fenn” French on October 22. Wolf also was found Thursday in front of the New Orleans City Council applying for the interim seat of Arnie Fielkow.

Second, a new t-shirt design is up in our store. The first of the marsh fire line of designs. Check it out!

Oct 22 Candidate List

Now that the Saints laid an egg, I guess I’ll take my mind off things temporarily and announce the qualifying candidates for the coming election:

Governor:

  • David Blanchard (I) Brusly, LA
  • Lenny Bollingham (I) Baton Rouge
  • Ron Ceasar (I) Opelousas
  • Cary Deaton (D) Metairie
  • Tara Hollis (D) Haynesville
  • Bobby Jindal (R) Baton Rouge*
  • Bob Lang Jr (I) Natchitoches
  • Scott Lewis (L) Baton Rouge
  • Niki Bird Papazoglakis (D) Baton Rouge
  • Trey Roberts (D) Gretna

Lt Gov:

  • Jay Dardenne (R) Baton Rouge*
  • Billy Nungesser (R) Belle Chasse

Sec of State

  • Tom Schedler (R) Mandeville*
  • Jim Tucker (R) New Orleans

Attny Gen

  • Buddy Caldwell (R) Tallulah*
  • Joseph Cao (R) New Orleans

St Treasurer

  • John Kennedy (R) Baton Rouge*

Comm of Insurance

  • Jim Donelon (R) Metairie*
  • Donald Hodge (D) Baton Rouge

Comm of Ag & Forestry

  • B Alexandrenko (Reform) Lafayette
  • Jamie LaBranche (D) LaPlace
  • Mike Strain (R) Covington*

Senate Dis 1

  • AG Crowe (R) Pearl River*
  • Nita Hutter (R) Chalmette

Senate Dis 3

  • JP Morrell (D) New Orleans*
  • Cynthia Willard-Lewis (D) New Orleans

Senate Dis 4

  • Ed Murray (D) New Orleans*

Senate Dis 7

  • David Heitmeier (D) New Orleans*

Senate Dis 9

  • Conrad Appel (R) Metairie*

House Dis 91

  • Walt Leger III (D) New Orleans*

House Dis 93

  • Helena Moreno (D) New Orleans*

House Dis 94

  • Josie Haas (D) New Orleans
  • John Labruzzo (R) Metairie
  • Nick Lorusso (R) New Orleans*

House Dis 97

  • Jared Brossett (D) New Orleans*

House Dis 98

  • Neil Abramson (D) New Orleans*
  • Fenn French (R) New Orleans
  • Myron Katz (D) New Orleans
  • Evan Wolf (D) New Orleans

House Dis 99

  • Wesley Bishop (D) New Orleans*
  • Samuel Cowart (D) New Orleans

House Dis 100

  • Austin Badon (D) New Orleans*

House Dis 102

  • Jeff Arnold (D) New Orleans*
  • Carlos Williams (D) New Orleans

House Dis 103

  • Michael Bayham (R) Chalmette
  • Ray Garofalo (R) Meraux
  • Chad Lauga (D) Arabi
  • Cullen Tonry (D) Chalmette

Civil Dis Court Judge Div B

  • Regina Bartholomew (D) New Orleans
  • Ellen Hazeur (D) New Orleans

Civil Dis Court Judge Div E

  • Nakisha Ervin-Knott (D) New Orleans
  • Clare Jupiter (D) New Orleans
  • Kris Kiefer (D) New Orleans

Traffic Court Judge Div A

  • Herbert Cade (D) New Orleans
  • Ernest Charbonnet (D) New Orleans
  • Patrick Giraud (D) New Orleans

Criminal Dis Court Judge Sec L

  • Willard Brown (D) New Orleans
  • Donald Sauviac Jr (R) New Orleans
  • Glen Woods (D) New Orleans
  • Franz Zibilich (D) New Orleans

*Update: I somehow overlooked the 2 races for Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

BESE Dis 1

  • Lee Barrios (I) Abita Springs
  • Jim Garvey (R) Metairie*
  • Sharon Hewitt (R) Slidell

BESE Dis 2

  • Louella Givens (D) Mandeville*
  • Pam Matus (I) LaPlace
  • Kira Jones (D) New Orleans
  • Ferdinand Wallace Jr (D) Reserve

Incumbents identified with (*)

Not Much Ado About Little

Campaign signs have been popping up all over town lately, which means candidates are qualifying for the October 22 elections this week. On Orleans Parish ballots in 6.5 weeks will be:

  • Governor
  • Lt Gov
  • Sec of State
  • Attny General
  • St Treasurer
  • Commissioner of Insurance
  • Commissioner of Ag and Forestry
  • State Senate districts 3,4,5,7,9
  • State House districts 91,93,94,97,98,99,100,103
  • Civil District Court Judge divisions B and E
  • Traffic Court Judge division A
  • Criminal District Court section L
  • Proposition on the New Orleans Regional Business Park

Don’t remember which districts you’re in? Check here. Also, we will be voting on 5 Constitutional Amendments:

  1. Dedicating funds to TOPS
  2. Unfunded accrued liability
  3. Patients compensation fund
  4. Budget Stabilization fund changes
  5. Sales tax exemption adjustment due to population change in NOLA

Stay tuned for a list of candidates once qualifying is complete and later, a breakdown on who’s most Nolatarian in each race.