Sunday, March 01, 2015

Snakes arriving early this year

Every spring, toward the end of the legislative session in Baton Rouge, the world's most predictable joke is made by just about everyone. This is from May of 2013:
There are always jokes this time of year about all the unsavory characters coming through the State Capitol, as legislators and lobbyists come together to wrangle over what bills will eventually become law. But this year, those same people are sharing space with snakes — real snakes, presumably water snakes migrating from nearby Capitol Lake.

The exact number of snakes found in the building hasn’t been pinned down. The official word from the people who run the building’s operations is that there have been four or five confirmed snake sightings dating back to late April.

But a quick survey of the people who guard the doors or the people who clean the floors and take out the garbage, and the problem appears to be much more widespread. They estimate there have been more than a dozen snakes found in the building going back to early spring.
It may still be a little chilly out but I think we can start with the snake talk a little early this year.   The petroleum industry will be paying a premium to bring them out.
“While many industries will be impacted by today’s budget proposal, the nature of the changes will completely kill the growing solar industry,” Jeff Cantin, the president of Louisiana’s trade association for solar and renewable energy, said in a prepared statement. He predicted the loss of at least 1,200 jobs if Jindal’s plan is adopted.

The solar industry has relatively few friends in the Legislature, however, while the business lobby — and in particular the petrochemical sector — is powerful. As such, it’s the proposed cut of the inventory tax refund that is likely to set off the most heated debate, observers say.

“Here’s the good news: It’s early; we’ve got a couple of months to work on this,” said Waguespack, who was a top Jindal aide before taking his LABI post. “I think most people look at this rebate as the wrong one to do away with. I’m optimistic that cooler heads will prevail.”
"Cooler heads" or , you know, colder blooded lobbyists. But the point is clear.  The biggest pot of revenue Jindal has found, the inventory tax refund, is also the pot most likely to be full of snakes.

Of course there's always the option of passing the whole problem onto the next Governor.
Procopio, of PAR, threw in another unappealing possibility: that the governor and the Legislature, as they’ve done in many recent years, will pass a budget that is balanced only by dint of rosy predictions that aren’t met, setting off a round of midyear cuts and leaving problems for the next governor to deal with.
Which is exactly the sort of thing Jindal might enjoy.  

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