News for Thursday 060718
By Dave Graichen
The Louisiana Legislative Auditor says it was Billing Software that was not updated properly that led to Pinecrest Supports and Services Center in Pineville failing to collect nearly $50,000 in Medicaid funds between May 2016 and February 2018. The audit also uncovered two employees who were over paid by close to $5,000. The misappropriation was found through in-house investigations. However, management failed to notify the legislative auditor. Both employees have since resigned.
The Governor says a bill sponsored by House GOP leader Lance Harris that would allow independent gas stations to sue larger gas station companies over unfair pricing would have led to higher prices at the pump. But, some are saying the Governor’s veto of the bill was political retribution. Harris owns a chain of gas stations in the Alexandria area and could have benefited from the bill. Harris dismissed suggestions it was improper for him to push a proposal in which he, as an independent gas station owner, had a financial interest. Edwards and Harris have clashed over legislation and policy since the governor’s term started.
A group of anti-tax, pro cut Republicans in the House, named the “Caucus of No” by the Governor are standing their ground, defending their move to block any move to renew a portion of an expiring sales taxes that hits June 30th. Jackson Representative Kenny Havard says that group has refused to work with other legislators to find a real, long term solution to the state’s perpetual budget woes. The Moderate Republican says most of the state is willing to raise some revenue if it means preserving programs like TOPS, funding universities, and keeping state agencies open.
But Chalmette Representative Ray Garofalo, one of the House members refusing the revenue measures, stands by his, and his colleagues, decision to prevent any portion of the one point four billion in expiring taxes to be renewed. He says the Governor’s decision to expand Medicaid was irresponsible and Medicaid needs some cuts to reign in the cost. Louisiana, one of the unhealthiest states in the country, was one of 33 states to expand Medicaid.
Can you imagine working hard at a job for 10 years and never getting one pay raise.. Public school teachers in Monroe will receive a two-percent pay raise next school year, it will be their first increase in ten years. Superintendent Brent Vidrine hopes the increase will boost morale.
How about a good news story.. Rep. Steve Scalise, who has vowed to someday return to his starting post at second base got his wish yesterday and even fielded some balls at his old position. It was the first time the Louisiana congressman took to the field with his Republican colleagues since a gunman fired on them during a practice last June in a Virginia suburb not far from the U.S. Capitol. Scalise, the House majority whip, was shot in the hip that morning and nearly died. It has been a long road to recovery..
In a letter sent to Governor Edwards, US Senator John Kennedy expressed his concern over what he called an “inexcusable waste of taxpayer funds at the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission” based on a legislative audit. Kennedy says the bulk of the problems appeared to have occurred under the leadership of Katara Williams, who has since been moved to a position with Southern University. Not only did Kennedy send his letter of concern to the governor, but he also sent a copy to President Donald Trump.
The State Department of Wildlife and Fisheries seeks to get more people outdoors with a free fishing weekend. So Saturday and Sunday residents and visitors can fish Louisiana waters without an otherwise required fishing license. LDWF Spokesperson Rene LeBreton says they hope to attract new anglers. LeBreton says a quick visit to the LDWF website http://www.wlf.la.gov has lots of information for those who may not know where to get started…
Low wage workers with kids will be getting a 40 to 50 dollar boost on their 2019 tax returns as the legislature approved an expansion of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit. It’s all but guaranteed to be signed by the Governor. Louisiana Budget Project Executive Director Jan Moller says the extra cash will go right into the pockets of thousands of Louisiana families.
Entergy and most utility companies recommend you set thermostat to 78 degrees for maximum savings on your electric bill. For most people…. That’s not going to happen…. Most folks surveyed said they didn’t have a problem leaving the temperature at 78 while they were at work, but nearly everyone said when their home, the plan on being comfortable. Entergy says each degree below 78 will add approximately 3-percent to the cost of your electric bill.
An Opelousas man is under arrest after allegedly setting a series of fires targeted at harassing his ex-girlfriend. 35-year-old Austin Ceasar was slapped with a series of Arson related charges after authorities found evidence that connected him to three fires dating back to March 9th. State Fire Marshal Spokesperson Ashley Rodriquez says a neighbor caught him committing the first arson.
On the air….
Houston Astros @ Texas Rangers 6:30p 94.7 ESPN
NBA Finals The Golden State Warriors have a 3 game advantage now over the Cleveland Cavaliers after last night’s 110 to 102 victory. They could walk away with the title tomorrow night when they face off in game 4. Hear it 7p on 94.7 ESPN!