News for Thursday 022317
By Dave Graichen
After 10 days of what became some heated debates, the special session ended with lawmakers agreeing to use $99 million from the rainy day fund to address a $304 million midyear deficit. Governor John Bel Edwards originally asked legislators to use the full $119 million available to minimize cuts to state agencies. But budget cuts are still coming to state agencies. The Department of Health will take the biggest hit with a 36-million dollar cut. Statewide elected officials will have their budget cuts and there will be a reduction in spending on roadwork.
Now that the special session is over, attention turns to the fiscal session that begins in April. The Louisiana Budget Project has released its tax reform blueprint. Senior Policy Analyst Nick Albares says we need a tax system that is fair, adequate, competitive, timely, and sustainable. He says one way to do that is to eliminate the federal income tax deduction, which is a credit only two other states offer. Albares says this credit costs the state nearly $1 billion a year, while only those at the top of the income spectrum benefit from it. He says they’re calling for a reduction in the state sales tax from 5-percent to 4-percent and a broadening of the sales tax base.
The winning ticket for Wednesday's Powerball drawing, worth an estimated $435.3 million, was sold in Indiana yesterday. It's the first time that the jackpot topped $400 million in nearly three months, and it's the seventh largest jackpot win in Powerball history. The numbers drawn Wednesday were 52, 10, 61, 28, and 13. The Powerball is 2
A report from Tulane has found that 17-hundred public school teachers have left their profession since the legislature passed a law in 2012 that made it more difficult for educators to achieve tenure. Co-author of the report, Nathan Barrett, says many of the educators that left were close to retirement and teachers who left under-performing schools rose by 27-percent.
Student achievement became a major factor in a teacher receiving tenure as part of the 2012 law.
With the rising cost of college tuition, many students are looking towards the internet to find ways to pay for school. GoFundMe Spokesperson Bobby Whithorne says nationally over the last three years, they’ve had over 130-thousand campaigns on their website raise over 60 million dollars for kids in college. Whithorne says the majority of the donations come from friends and family, as students share their GoFundMe campaign on Facebook and other social media sites. But he says there are complete strangers who contribute.
The Safety Net for Abused Persons for the greater New Iberia area announce they’re closing because of financial struggles. Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Mariah Wineski says they are working on plans for a new permanent facility. She says last year they provided over 90-thousand shelter nights to domestic violence victims around the state.
How are you planning to spend your tax refund? Well according to a new survey from the National Retail Federation, most people, especially millennials, won’t be spending returns, but instead saving. Denham Springs financial planner Matt Kennedy says younger people saw their parents suffer in the 2008 crash and don’t want to risk it. The survey says of 66-percent of those getting a refund, only 21-percent plan to spend it on everyday expenses.
The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is reminding pet owners to be vigilant about your animal’s physical and emotional well-being when celebrating Mardi Gras. Dr. Nancy Welborn with the school advises parade goers to leave their pets at home because most dogs and cats aren’t used to those situations. Welborn says be mindful of what you’re feeding your pets. She says king cakes, jambalaya, and fired foods are not pet friendly snacks.
After suffering their first loss of the season Tuesday night against UNO, the LSU Tiger Baseball team Posted an 8-1 Win Over Hofstra last night. Coming up, the tigers face off against Maryland at the box this weekend.
Demarcus Cousins, aka Boogie, was officially introduced Wednesday as one of the newest members of the New Orleans Pelicans. The All-Star comes to The Big Easy from Sacramento and practiced with the Pels for the first time yesterday. Cousins says he’s excited about the opportunity to hit the court with fellow All-Star Anthony Davis. Cousins will suit up with the Pelicans for the first time tonight against Houston in the Smoothie King Center. Airtime 6:30 on ESPN1410 and 93.1 HD3.