News for Tuesday 022018
By Dave Graichen
Recent above normal temperatures are making it feel more like Spring, but a pesky front is expected to move into North Louisiana starting this evening, which State Climatologist Barry Keim says will bring the temperatures closer to normal in that area for the remainder of the week and along with that the good chance for rain through the weekend.
Governor John Bel Edwards addressed the legislature, calling on the state’s governing body to put party politics aside to fix the impending fiscal cliff that triggers July 1st after a series of sales taxes expire. If no deal is struck, TOPS, higher Ed, and healthcare would see massive cuts. Edwards says it’s time to put party aside for the future of the state.
The governor called on lawmakers to adopt his plan that would reduce the state sales tax, and replace the funds by widening the tax base, removing certain business sales tax exemptions, and compressing income tax brackets. Edwards says funding popular state programs should be every legislator’s objective.
The Senate Democratic Caucus offers a solution on solving the one-billion dollar shortfall. Chairman Troy Carter proposes compressing income tax brackets, removing sales tax exemptions that benefit some businesses and expand the sales tax base, so certain services are taxed. But anti-tax critics say proposal would raise income taxes on the middle class.
LSU president F. King Alexander is calling on legislators to find a budget solution that funds higher ed and TOPS by the end of the February special session.
Alexander says there was a noticeable impact the last time the state failed to properly fund TOPS in a timely manner. He says if lawmakers wait until June to solve the one billion dollar fiscal cliff, the damage will already have been done for the 2018-2019 school year.
At least three Louisiana schools received social media threats over the weekend, with Ville Platte High receiving one Monday morning. That threat forced a lockdown for several hours. Dutchtown and Ponchatoula High Schools were threatened in social media over the weekend.
North Louisiana Congressman Ralph Abraham made no bones about his intentions to take a hard look at running for Governor. On the day when Governor John Bel Edwards took center stage at the capitol and opened the special legislative session, Abraham took a swipe at his potential opponent while speaking to the Baton Rouge Press club.
Abraham says in the days of lightning fast social media, Louisiana voters are less likely to consider where a candidate is from and more likely to hear his message.
The State Transportation Department will begin work on the I-10 bridge in Lake Charles on March 3rd. DOTD spokesperson Rodney Mallett says they will replace the expansion joints on the bridge, initially closing one eastbound lane. Mallett says this work is part of a large scale job they plan to perform. The project is expected to be completed in four to six months.
Sad story out of Pointe Coupee Parish as a female employee at False River Academy was killed when her 74-year-old husband accidentally pinned her between his truck and a school bus. 66-year-old Edith Atkinson died from her injures at a local hospital.
A 71-year-old Louisiana inmate serving a life sentence for the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy was denied parole Monday by a three-member panel of the state’s parole board. Henry Montgomery just turned 17-year-old when he fatally shot an East Baton Rouge sheriff’s deputy in 1963. He received a parole hearing thanks to a US Supreme Court ruling that juvenile homicide offenders should have an opportunity at parole.