News for Tuesday 041117
By Dave Graichen
This evening the Rapides Parish School Board will decide at a special meeting whether or not to proceed with a vote on school closures and consolidations recommended by the district. Prior to the meeting, there will be an opportunity for public comment. The recommendations were presented partially out of concern for failing schools with a high number of substitutes and vacancies, with the district suggesting as many as 50 teaching positions would be cut. The meeting is scheduled for 5 this evening.
An 18 year old Pineville man lost his life yesterday afternoon on Indian Creek when he dove from the bow of a boat into the water and never resurfaced. RPSO deputies recovered the body of Orlando Banks a short time later. Banks was a student at Alexandria Senior High.
The 2017 Legislative session is officially underway in Baton Rouge. Governor John Bel Edwards spoke to lawmakers in a joint session and outlined what he hopes to see accomplished over the next two months. He said among his proposals, he wants to model Louisiana’s sales tax structure utilizing best practices from other states. He urged lawmakers to take a serious look at what we can do to better invest in our state’s roads — Increase minimum wage and support equal pay. And work to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-world incarceration rate. He says the most important thing they all must do, is work together. He said he hopes politics and partisanship don’t blur the path to the goal. The session must end by noon on June 8th.
The legislative session is in full swing, and Governor John Bel Edwards told lawmakers now is the time to implement comprehensive tax reform, so Louisiana can end the cycle of midyear budget cuts. The governor’s proposals would increase taxes on many businesses, but lower rates for individuals. This will be the last time law makers can deal with fiscal issues until 2019. The legislative session will last for two months.
The governor also wants to pour more money into Louisiana’s roads. In so many words, he announced his support for an increase to the gasoline tax. There’s been talk of raising the gas tax anywhere between seven and 17-cents.
The House Ways and Means committee today begins pouring over some of the proposals included in the governor’s tax plan. John Bel Edwards ambitious proposal will increase taxes on many businesses, but he says it will lead to lower income taxes for 90-percent of the taxpayers. Baton Rouge Representative Ted James is confident once more details of the plan come out, there will be ample support. But West Monroe Senator Mike Walsworth says Louisiana has one of the lowest income tax rates in the nation. He’s concerned about putting too much of the tax burden on businesses and losing jobs. He says lawmakers need to be cautious about lowering taxes for individuals and getting businesses to foot the bill.
Gas prices are on the rise as the summer driving season approaches. AAA Fuel Analyst Don Redman says the statewide average of $2.19 is about 7 cents higher than the prior week which is typical for this time of year. Gas prices are at their highest level since January.
A Chinese chemical company chooses Louisiana over Texas to build a 1.1 billion dollar manufacturing complex. State Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson says this will help Louisiana grow as a global leader in chemical manufacturing and he says the project by Wanhua (Wan-hwah) Chemical Group will bring 170 new direct jobs to the state. LED estimates the project will also result in 945 indirect jobs. The specific location of the site will be decided later in the year.
Another study by LSU economist Dr. Loren Scott finds the return isn’t there when it comes to state’s film tax credits program as the report shows it causes a significant hit to Louisiana’s budget. Scott says the return of investment was 22-percent in 2016.
Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves says he will resign if the federal government is the reason flood victims have not yet received any federal assistance. Graves made the comments on a Baton Rouge Talk Show, also issuing a call for Governor John Bel Edwards to do the same. The governor’s communications director, Richard Carbo, denies the state is holding up the process and instead blames red tape with the federal government. Carbo says Graves comments are not helping homeowners.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has granted Louisiana access to start dispensing 1.6 billion dollars to flooded homeowners in federal aid. Deputy Chief of Staff for the Governor Julie Baxter Payer says this will finally allow the state to move forward with recovery plans. Payer says an action plan had to be submitted to HUD in order to spend the money, which is why the process of receiving funds took so long. Payer expects to have a contractor in place within the next week who will manage the Homeowner Assistance Program.
After taking two of three from Arkansas, LSU is once again back in the top ten in three major college baseball polls heading into tonight’s matchup against UL Lafayette. Airtime 6:30 pn KSYL 970 & 100.3 HD3
The pelicans are in LA tonight to take on the Lakers in the next to last game of the season. Airtime 9p on ESPN 1410 & 93.1 HD3