By: Pat Austin
SHREVEPORT – It would seem that Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is off to a rather rocky start as he goes up against the majority Republican Legislature. It appears that the Republicans aren’t going to make life easy for Edwards.
On the campaign trail, Edwards wrapped himself in moderate clothes and won the votes of many Republicans; some of that, in part, was due to the fact that voting for David Vitter was just a peg too far. Many people believed Edwards when he promised to get rid of state education Superintendent John White, a proponent of Common Core. That is not likely to happen now as Edwards has stacked the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education with White supporters.
Edwards won’t be fighting Common Core any longer either as just last week his office announced that he would no longer pursue the Jindal lawsuit against Common Core. Edwards says that the lawsuit is financially and educationally unnecessary as Louisiana has worked to rewrite the standards.
Immediately after that announcement, the Louisiana Attorney General, Republican Jeff Landry released a statement saying that as Attorney General, he is intervening in that case and only he will decide if that lawsuit goes forward or not, indicating that he is the one, and not the governor, who decides the legal course for the state.
Gov. Edwards has called for a Special Session of the Legislature later this month for the purpose of resolving the looming budget shortfall left by the Jindal administration. Edwards has laid out a staggering list of potential tax increases to solve the problem. All of the usual tax increases are there including raising taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, income, utilities, property, and so on.
There are no proposals for welfare reform or to cut unnecessary staff and crony positions. As a matter of fact, those Jindal era staff salaries that Edwards criticized on the campaign trail? He’s keeping those and raising them some.
Again, with a Republican-dominated Legislature, this Special Session wish list might just be a pipe dream, but if nothing else, Gov. Edwards has shown in just a few short weeks his true colors and any Republican that pulled the lever for him, thinking they were getting a moderate Democrat who shared their values, has been proven to be delusional.
Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.