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Words of caution for those in the business community
September 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm
This will be my next to last column as President of LABI. I thought I would use it to share a few words of caution to my friends in the business community.

More privacy intrusions unearthed
August 30, 2013 at 9:00 am
Every day seems to unearth more claims of unwarranted privacy intrusions upon private citizens by the National Security Administration (NSA) and the myriad other agencies and contractors that comprise its national security apparatus. Almost as soon as President Obama, members of his administration and key members of Congress deny claims of privacy violations, more evidence appears challenging the veracity of those statements.

Flood protection district files surprise lawsuit
August 02, 2013 at 10:50 am
In a surprise move, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection District- East filed a lawsuit against scores of oil and gas companies to try to force them to pay what could be many billions of dollars to remediate deteriorated sections of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands. Many issues surround the suit, not the least of which is the question as to whether the district has the legal authority to go to court on this matter.

Property tax reform moving backwards
July 24, 2013 at 6:16 pm
After Kathleen Blanco was elected governor in 2003, I had a meeting with her before her inauguration. One of the items I mentioned to her was the necessity to appoint a conscientious Louisiana Tax Commission (LTC), one that would insure that the elected assessors in the state would accurately appraise property and not play favorites with assessments. I told her that the property tax system in Louisiana was a mess and the LTC could play a key role in cleaning it up.

A tale of 2 states’ unemployment experience
July 19, 2013 at 9:28 am
Last month, the North Carolina Legislature enacted legislation to corral its expanding federal debt for unemployment compensation (UC) benefits to its unemployed.

Train wreck delayed, not prevented
July 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm
The Obama administration announced on July 2 that the Jan. 1, 2014 deadline for many employers to provide health insurance for their employees or pay a penalty was being pushed back by one year.

Looking Back Part III: The Tort Reform Special Session of 1996
July 03, 2013 at 7:50 am
For years the civil justice system in Louisiana was one of the worst in the nation in spite of very few bills being passed by the Legislature to liberalize tort laws and generate more lawsuits.

Partisanship has no place in regulatory bureaucracies
June 27, 2013 at 11:24 am
Much has been said, and deservedly so, about the IRS targeting conservative non-profit groups regarding their applications for tax-exempt status.

Session ends but problems, conflicts continue
June 21, 2013 at 10:46 am
Perhaps the kindest thing that can be said about the 2013 Regular Session of the Legislature is that it didn’t result in the need for a follow-up Special Session.

Looking back at the election from hell
June 07, 2013 at 9:20 am
Perhaps the lowest point in my career with LABI and my involvement with Louisiana politics was the infamous "Election from Hell" in 1991: Edwin Edwards versus David Duke. Throughout the month after the October primary election, media from around the world descended upon Louisiana to chronicle the race between the scandal-tainted former governor and the Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. One would win and one would lose, but the real loser in this race was Louisiana’s image.


Obama administration - where ignorance is bliss
May 31, 2013 at 9:39 am
If FDR had the same advisors that Barack Obama has, he wouldn’t have known that Pearl Harbor had been bombed until media reports filtered back to the mainland.

Beware the ides of May
May 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm
Three weeks are left in the 2013 regular session of the Legislature, and much water is left to run under the legislative bridge before sine die adjournment on June 6. The biggest issue left to resolve is the state budget, which has developed into a three-way tug of war between the House, the Senate and the governor.

House set to advance $300 million business tax increase
May 10, 2013 at 9:28 am
The House Ways and Means Committee advanced a package of bills Monday that will become vehicles for a proposed $329 million tax increase. Of that total, $315 million would come from businesses. That would represent the largest tax increase on businesses in recent times (perhaps ever). The size of the tax increase will have a huge negative effect on economic development, but beyond the size, the haphazard way the plan is designed would lead to huge implementation problems and great uncertainty about Louisiana’s tax code for businesses.


Obamacare heads towards troubled waters
April 25, 2013 at 9:36 am
There is good news and bad news for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The good news is that it is nearing full implementation next January 1. The bad news is that the legislation remains unpopular with the voters, and it is highly likely that the launch of the program will be problematic at best.


Unsolicited advice on tax reform
April 19, 2013 at 9:24 am
One positive aspect of being around a long time is seeing lots of folks whack at the piñata of reform with varying degrees of success. I, too, have taken my swings at the paper mâche donkey and occasionally saw the candy hit the ground. Tax reform is arguably the toughest genre of reform to achieve. Why? Because everyone is impacted by the tax code, and everyone becomes a stakeholder in the process. In most other areas of reform, fewer people care about what is happening. That isn’t the case when government at any level starts to dictate what taxpayers can keep and what they must render to Caesar.


‘Climate change’ proposal could delay major job-creating activities
March 22, 2013 at 10:14 am
Folks who are working hard to expand our stagnant economy in the face of government-imposed headwinds had to be upset if they read the March 14 article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek entitled "Obama Will Use Nixon-Era Law to Fight Climate Change." President Obama enjoys expanding laws he likes beyond the edge of the envelope and ignoring laws he doesn’t like. He knows that the Republican majority in the House of Representatives do not share his views on "climate change," formerly referred to as "global warming." He once again plans to go around them.


Things that caught my eye
March 15, 2013 at 9:58 am
Add $239 more to the budget hole: If things weren’t bleak enough for the state’s fiscal outlook, more bad news came this week in the form of a $239 million federal court judgment against Louisiana. The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sued the state to force repayment of Medicaid funds. The over-payments were sent to our charity hospitals between 1996 and 2006. HHS filed suit to get the funds after the state didn’t respond to demands for reimbursement. If the federal government executes that judgment during the course of Fiscal Year 2013-2014, the billion-dollar budget hole will get even larger.


Sequester would trigger $1.2 trillion in cuts
March 01, 2013 at 9:52 am
Unless the unlikely happens, on March 1 the much cussed and discussed federal sequester will automatically trigger, cutting some $1.2 trillion over 10 years across the board in both defense and discretionary (non-entitlement) spending. The sequester is the product of an earlier budget battle royal, the 2011 fight over raising the debt ceiling. The key to the compromise at that time was the sequester proposal that both Republicans and Democrats felt would force the other side to compromise on the size and shape of the spending cuts. It didn’t happen as conceived, and in a few days the sequester will be birthed.


Obama’s appointments violate constitution, judge says
February 07, 2013 at 10:16 am
The National Labor Relations Board (board) is the federal agency responsible for ensuring the rights of employers and unions under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). President Obama appoints the board’s five members to five-year, staggered terms. However, as with the president’s cabinet and judicial appointments, the U.S. Senate must approve his board appointments.


State of American business
January 25, 2013 at 1:59 pm
One of America’s strongest and most influential business leaders, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue, recently gave his report on the state of business in America (view it online at uschamber.com). Governmental officials at all levels, business leaders, workers and investors would do well to hear what Donohue had to say.


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‘The Nutcracker’ paved way for 20 years of ballet productions
‘The Nutcracker’ paved way for 20 years of ballet productions
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For the past two decades the River Region Ballet has brought a brilliant array of arts together for a season of stage shows that are presented each year.