Sunday, March 31, 2013
Current state law prohibits the sale or lease of EJGH or West Jeff Medical Center without a public vote.
HB 383 is co-sponsored by Robert Billiot (D-Westwego), Nick Lorusso (R-New Orleans/Metairie), Chris Leopold (R-Belle Chasse). On the Senate side, the legislation is sponsored by Conrad Appel (R-Metairie), David Heitmeier (D-Algiers), and long-time Normand ally, Danny Martiny (R-Kenner).
Friday, March 29, 2013
A Grand Jury is investigating a $185 Million medicaid claim processing contract that was entered into with the former employer of DHH Secretary Bruce Greenstein. Despite the Governor expressing confidence in Greenstein's leadership, the Secretary resigned Friday evening.
Now, there is news of more trouble for another health care company with ties to Governor Jindal.
The former CEO of Universal Health Care, A.K. Desai, and his company are the subject of an FBI probe into alleged health care fraud. The offices of the Florida-based company, which filed for bankruptcy protection on February 6th, were raided Thursday. The company is accused of over-billing, possibly, defrauding the government.
Last week, a judge ordered Universal into receivership and on Friday, another Judge ordered an affiliated company to also enter receivership.
Desai is the former Finance Chairman of the Florida Republican Party and has contributed and raised money for many leading Republicans including Governor Jindal.
Desai, his wife, several family members, and Universal Health Care, have all contributed to Governor Jindal.
Universal Health Care has approximately 100,000 members, 60,000 being Medicaid members and 40,000 having Medicare.
850 employees of Universal lost their jobs due to the receivership.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
FEMA representatives will be on hand to provide specific information on flood zones and the new flood insurance maps. Representatives from several insurance companies will also be hand to discuss the impact of the new flood maps.
The Open House is free and the public is invited.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Citizens For Good Government (CFGG) has been actively lobbying the Jefferson Parish Council for reforms to the contract process. The group was "extremely disappointed" by the deferal.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Sunday, March 24, 2013
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Al Kaiser and Johnny Nobles Jr. are running for the District 2 Westwego Council seat. The JVF and Alliance endorsed Kaiser.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Thursday, March 21, 2013
- All financial information, including but not limited to financial statements, income statements, balance sheets, and statements of profit and loss, submitted by the firms in connection with or response to the proposal.
- Documents sufficient to show the date and time at which each response to the proposal was received by the state of Louisiana
Our work is starting to pay off. We're now at the top of many rankings for the best business climates in the country, and we are one of only six states that have more jobs now than at the beginning of the recession.
But - there are still too many Louisianians looking for work, too many Louisianians that want to find better-paying jobs and still too many Louisianians living in other states because they couldn't find work here.
That's unacceptable. I ran for governor to make sure that all of our sons and daughters could pursue their dreams here at home. We have made progress on that front, but our work is far from over.
One of the biggest obstacles we face in helping more Louisianians find work is Louisiana's tax code because it's complex, unstable and unfair. We have more than 460 loopholes on the books that make our system complex, volatile and unfair.
If you have a lobbyist and lawyer, you have a loophole. Let me put that a different way. In 2011, we actually went in the hole on corporate income tax by some $76 million. We actually paid companies through loopholes to not pay corporate income tax. That goes to show you our tax system is unfair and riddled with loopholes and exemptions.
We need a system where powerful special interest groups will no longer be able to rig the system. And to bring more job opportunities to Louisiana, we must start by having a tax structure that looks like it was designed on purpose.
That's why my top priority is to eliminate income taxes and more than 200 loopholes in a revenue neutral way.
Eliminating income taxes will have six benefits.
First, eliminating income taxes will help make Louisiana the best place to start a business. States with no income taxes are outperforming other states in terms of economic growth and population growth. Over the last 10 years, more than 60 percent of the three million new jobs in America were created by the nine states without an income tax.
Second, eliminating income taxes will give more control to the taxpayer. Eliminating income taxes and closing loopholes will reduce the tax burden for individuals and families across every income level.
For instance, a teacher making $45,000 per year would see her annual state tax burden reduced by more than $800 on average. An employee at a landscaping company and a stay-at-home mom making a total of about $35,000 per year would see their annual state tax burden reduced by more than $150. A plant worker making $60,000 per year would see his annual state tax burden reduced by around $1,000.
Third, by eliminating income taxes and loopholes, everyone will pay their fair share, and no more than that.
Fourth, we're going to close special interest loopholes. Powerful special interest groups will no longer be able to rig the system.
Fifth, we are going to protect food, prescription drugs and utilities from the state sales tax.
Sixth, and finally, by switching to a sales tax base, there will be more stability in funding for government services.
For too long, we've talked about getting rid of income taxes and said we need to compete with Texas and Florida. But, we've always just talked and tinkered around the edges of real reform.
This is our moment to eliminate the income tax and unleash major economic growth and opportunity in our state that will help keep our sons and daughters here at home to find jobs and raise their families.
Henry will discuss the upcoming legislative session and other issues, as well as take questions from the audience.
Henry has also posted an online legislative issues survey on his website, www.jcameronhenry.com.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
"There doesn't seem to be any motivation to have a benefit to the greater good," Blanco said.
Calling Jindal's plan "a distraction", Blanco said, "The whole state is going into meltdown" over Jindal's proposed tax swap.
Blanco was also critical of the time spent debating the Jindal's plan.
"People are going to be experiencing great frustrations trying to get things done, things that are considered routine."
She added that Governor Jindal needs to "focus a little bit more on the real problems and a lot less on trying to change a tax system that is not broken."
Blanco mentioned that she hoped state legislators would instead spend their energy trying to pursue more Federal Medicaid assistance and find a way to increase teacher pay.
KLFY-TV in Lafayette has the full report here.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
- Rev. Deacon Maggie Dawson, St. Martin’s Episcopal, Metairie
- The Very Rev. A.J. Heine, Rector, St. Augustine’s Episcopal, Metairie
- Rev. Charmaine Kathmann, Deacon, St. John’s Episcopal/Anglican, Kenner
- Rev. Donald C. Muth, Retired, Episcopal Diocese of LA., Metairie
The online blog Politico.com, released it’s list of CPAC Winners and Losers. The blog says Governor Jindal was the biggest loser.
Can you say “Ouch”? I think that hurt more than the Governor’s Sunday auto accident.
You can view Politico's full report here.
Monday, March 18, 2013
For his part, Councilman Roberts has no issue with Jefferson Parish paying for their portion of the bill to keep the decorative lighting on.
I am urging you as Parish President to have the Public Works Department determine the number of decorative lights which would fall within our boundaries of unincorporated Jefferson Parish.
I feel Jefferson Parish needs to make an offer to the state to fund the lights which would represent the portion of the bridge span located in Jefferson Parish.”
Sunday, March 17, 2013
In a separate issue, in the wake of issues uncovered in Europe involving horse meat mixed together with beef, Senator Landrieu has proposed a bill to ban the slaughtering of horses for food.
The Obama Administration is close to approving a new horse slaughterhouse in New Mexico. The 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Act lifted the ban on horse slaughtering.
According to Senator Landrieu, 80% of Americans oppose slaughtering horses for food.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Guest Commentary: Why The LPSC Stopped "Energy Efficiency" Program by Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta
This could well be true. Since adoption though, most of the 46 states have now realized that these programs will cost more than predicted or expected, and the costs of these programs are directly passed along to the consumer and included on each person’s utility bill. Accordingly, many of these states are now working to reduce these programs due to these higher than predicted costs.
The author used an analogy to support his opinion on energy efficiency. He wrote, “Consider my new drying machine. Last year, I replaced the dinosaur-era clothes dryer I had inherited from a previous owner of my home in southwestern Connecticut. The new drying machine cost me about $350 but also reduced my monthly electric bills fell by about $60. In other words, I saved enough money on my utility bills to pay for my new clothes dryer in only six months.”
Congratulations to the author, as that is exactly what most people do. Folks buy appliances that save them money. And they do it all the time without a government program telling them to do it or mandating their participation.
The author also noted, “The DOE’s arithmetic concludes that every dollar spent on energy efficiency creates $0.49 more economic activity than every dollar spent on an electric bill creates in local communities. This makes sense to me and 46 other U.S. states.” That is correct. Every penny you save on any expenditure allows you to spend it on something else of your choice. And every dollar less a consumer spends on his utility bill, on a program that has become suspect, is another dollar saved by the consumers to spend as they choose, not by government mandate.
We should note that the author of the article is William Pentland, Senior Director of Market Development at ClearEdge Power, 195 Governors Hwy, South Windsor, CT 06074(860) 727- 2200 | Main: 877-CLR-EDGE (257-3343). Mr. Pentland failed to note that he is also associated with ClearEdge Power. ClearEdge Power is delivering “smart” energy solutions today to improve Energy Efficiency. I wonder why they would be so focused on getting more expensive programs passed into law? I would hazard a guess that they have a dog in the hunt.
Not surprising is that, according to Eric Wesoff of greentechmedia.com, “ClearEdge recently received $2.8 million from the Federal DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – Fuel Cell Technologies Program to deploy fuel cells in a variety of commercial buildings.” “… the money is intended to defray the upfront cost of the units.” So, the Fed subsidized this transaction, through a federal Energy Efficiency program.
Casey DeMoss Roberts, of The Alliance for Affordable Energy, made the recent comment on nola.com: “What Commissioner Skrmetta did to repeal the energy efficiency law was closed, suspicious, and excluded the public.” Clearly the sour grapes eliminates the facts that the entire process was open for years, numerous comments were made, testimony was taken, and questionable reports were generated all in public. There is nothing “suspicious” or “exclusive” about a previously announced statement that the issue would be challenged in the future. The result is not to avoid an EE policy, but it is to have one that makes sense and is not cluttered by questionable reports, actions and administration.
The EE program that the LPSC approved in December 2012 was proposed through a motion, previously undistributed to the member Commissioners until the time of the vote, except for the Commissioner making the motion. The motion was even made before the contract consultant that was hired by the commission had completed his study of EE programs in other states. The December motion was, in my opinion, railroaded through process and I chose to vote for it; and then publicly stated that I voted for the motion so that, under Roberts Rules of Order, I would be able to bring this matter up again when it would be possible to challenge the EE policy in the future in order to obtain a more meaningful option.
By way of illustration, let’s review what the former LPSC EE policy would have created:
- A bureaucracy spending thirty million dollars ($30,000,000.00) of ratepayer money to be spent over the next four years for unspecific purposes for a “Phase 1” program. The money would be spent to hire third party administrators who would then develop programs on how to spend money on EE through unknown mechanisms. That money had to be paid for by rate payers and would have appeared as an additional charge on consumers’ bills. That was only Phase 1, and there is no knowing how many other phases would be sought to support the groups seeking to manage these poorly developed programs.
- These third party administrators would have selected high efficiency appliances to advertise through your utility bill. I personally question how and under what circumstances these third party administrators were going to “solicit” manufacturers to be selected for the approved list. I find this aspect capable of breeding inherent conflicts of interest at the third party administrator’s level.
- Please note that participation in this program was mandatory! That is, unless you are an industrial user, which were exempt from the EE policy. So users of 78% of the state’s electricity output did not have to participate in, or pay for, the EE policy. Representation of industrial users in other jurisdictions can create conflicts of interest.
The LPSC was referenced in the Forbes article as “Luddites” (“Opponents of technological progress.”) Nothing could be further from the truth. What is true is the LPSC is positioned as a watchdog for consumers and exists in part to identify ways that some groups use to try to fleece consumers.
In any future development of an energy efficiency policy in Louisiana there are factors the commission may want to include:
- The program would be voluntary.
- The program would encourage participation from the industrial sector as they consume 78% of the electricity.
- Each utility should manage its own EE policy and save Louisiana ratepayers tens of millions of dollars in the process by eliminating special interest groups from sticking their gob in the trough containing ratepayer money.
- Encourage utilities to take meaningful action to assist residential users in the task of weatherizing homes and educating the public in ways to save electricity. Utilities should bear this cost, not ratepayers.