Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The problem with this state legislature is nobody wants to do any work

In this column, Grace hints that we're about to see some state legislators bail early on their terms but she doesn't name any names. We know JP Morrell and and Walt Leger are thinking about running for mayor so there's two for your consideration.

The other reason Grace gives us for these possible early exits is it turns out hanging around Baton Rouge fighting over budget cuts is actually hard work.
Lately, though, the job has become a pretty tough slog. The budget news is so bad that it's hard to give constituents anything they want, or to avoid voting for fiscally responsible but politically painful service cuts and tax increases. This past year featured two long special sessions on top of the regular session, and at least one special session is likely in 2017.

That means lawmakers are spending more time away from jobs and families, and coming home with less to show for it. And while there's at least some hope they'll tackle budget reform this year and set the state on a more sustainable path, the situation is certainly not going to improve in the short term.
That's a shame, though. Because while it seems like a heavy responsibility, a major fiscal reform package is also a big opportunity for those who choose to see it as such.  An aggressive lawmaker could really make a name for his or herself pushing for fairer ways to raise revenue that burden the state's working poor less. Sure, that's not going to win you many friends among the usual donors. But what if it were possible to succeed in politics running against the entrenched interests of "establishment elites" or some such?

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