by Jeff Crouere, Ringside Politics, ©2023
(Jan. 22, 2023) — As other Southern states, such as Texas and Florida, continue to enjoy explosive economic growth, Louisiana is suffering from the impact of misguided policies.
While other states flourished during the pandemic and embraced freedom, Louisiana enforced lockdown policies and COVID mandates pushed by liberal Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards and liberal Mayors such as LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans.
These measures were imposed in the name of “public safety,” but were counterproductive. These actions caused Louisiana to lose jobs and businesses to neighboring states. The resulting damage especially harmed our tourist industry, one of the few remaining pillars of our weak economy.
On the national level, the left-wing Biden administration pursued a series of measures to promote renewable energy sources and bolster the use of electric vehicles. Simultaneously, it declared war on the fossil fuel industry, critical to our state’s economy. The moratorium on oil and gas drilling on federal leases, both on land and offshore, was a contributing factor in the decline in our state’s economy.
Texas and Florida enjoy the benefits of wise Republican leadership. In contrast, Louisiana is saddled with a liberal Democrat Governor and liberal Democrats as Mayors of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. All of them are big government progressives who are opposed to policies that will attract business to Louisiana.
For example, Edwards opposes eliminating the state income tax, unless other taxes are increased so that the impact is “revenue neutral.” Yet, nine states, including Texas and Florida, have eliminated income taxes with very positive results. In 2023, Mississippi’s conservative Governor will push for his state to join their ranks.
Louisiana would thrive with the elimination of taxes and the reduction of state government. Sadly, the solution from Edwards and other Louisiana political leaders for almost any problem is to grow the size and scope of government. While the population of Louisiana has been stagnant for the past few decades, the state government budget has skyrocketed from $16 billion in 2003 to over $47 billion today.
Two of the last three Governors in Louisiana have been Democrats. While the state legislature technically has a huge Republican majority, many of these legislators are status quo politicians who are not true conservatives.
These politicians have delivered a disaster for Louisiana citizens by creating a very onerous tax climate. Louisiana has the highest sales taxes in the nation, coupled with a state income tax, local property taxes and franchise taxes.
Along with a poor economy, Louisiana features substandard public schools, dilapidated infrastructure, and a reputation for dishonest politicians.
In addition, state leaders have failed to deliver any measure of public safety for its citizens. Baton Rouge and New Orleans are two of the most crime-ridden cities, per capita, in the nation. In 2022, New Orleans attained the horrific title of Murder Capital of the Nation.
Last year, according to the Metropolitan Crime Commission, there were 280 murders in New Orleans, the highest level since 1996. At that time, New Orleans had a much larger population, prior to Hurricane Katrina.
Under the so-called leadership of New Orleans Mayor Cantrell, the jewel of Louisiana has been suffering greatly. It is so awful that outraged citizens are making a valiant effort to recall her.
For a recall to be successful in Louisiana, 20% of the registered voters in a city the size of New Orleans must sign a petition within a six-month period. The recall campaign will conclude on February 22, the day after Mardi Gras.
At a news conference on Sunday, recall leader Eileen Carter said that the campaign needed approximately 15,000 more signed petitions to reach their goal of approximately 54,000.
The campaign has been advertising extensively on radio, television, social media, and billboards. One mailing has already been sent to New Orleans voters and another one is planned in the coming days. Voters will just have to sign the petition and mail it back before the deadline.
In response, Mayor Cantrell appeared on Sunday’s edition of the CBS show Face the Nation. She dismissed the problems in the city, such as violent crime by claiming that “We’re seeing real results in our redeployment strategy on the ground.”
She also downplayed the chances of being recalled by citing her previous election victories and boasting that “Based on what I’ve seen, the residents of my city definitely appreciate continuity of leadership.”
Yes, Mayor Cantrell is offering “continuity,” but it is not “leadership” that she is delivering; it is chaos. Cantrell is a continual source of ethical misconduct. As a member of the New Orleans City Council, Cantrell misused city-issued credit cards for personal use.
After her election, it was discovered that Cantrell and her husband owed over $95,000 in federal income taxes and liens were placed on her home by the Internal Revenue Service.
In the last year, Cantrell has been dealing with one controversial issue after another. She was caught using a city-owned apartment building as a personal residence without compensating the taxpayers for the rent. Even more egregious was her extravagant travel to at least ten destinations, including three international trips to France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
She had to reimburse the city government almost $30,000 for her first-class airfare and five-star hotel accommodations. Cantrell is also alleged to be involved in an affair with a police security guard.
While she denies the affair, there is no denying the multiplying problems in New Orleans. Along with rampant crime, trash is not getting picked up due to a dispute with a contractor and irritating street repairs often remain only partially completed for years.
Statewide elections in 2023 may replace the Democrat Governor, but in New Orleans, no one should expect quick relief as the last Republican Mayor was elected in 1872. In New Orleans, Democrats own every problem.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award-winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs Saturdays from Noon until 1 p.m. CT nationally on Real America’s Voice TV Network & AmericasVoice.News and weekdays from 7-11 a.m. CT on WGSO 990-AM & Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America’s Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on Crouere.net. For more information, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org