Meanwhile, Down at the Capitol
LFF Commentary | April 2018

The Louisiana House is gearing up for a huge budget battle, but in the meantime, both chambers are trying to rapidly discharge the backlog of legislation on their calendars. Bills have been flying through committees and off each floor.

Notably missing among the "have passed" bills, are the ones which are part of the race-to-the-bottom–more gambling in more places–package. No major gambling legislation passed either chamber last week and a sports betting bill died in committee today! This is great news for those opposed to the expansion of gambling in Louisiana. It’s not time to let our guard down because these measures could be brought up for debate tonight or anytime opposition appears absent. LFF is being ever vigilant, making sure that legislators are aware of the problems with expanding gambling. You can weigh in on this debate, by CLICKING HERE to send a message to the Legislature. Click here to hear our radio and share the link with your friends and family.

SB 364 by Sen. Rick Ward ensures Free Speech at our public colleges and universities. Respect and civility are vital, even with those we disagree. This bill, rooted in Supreme Court precedent, recognizes the importance of protecting free expression on college campuses, not limited to small "zones."

The free and open exchange of ideas is essential to democracy, and perhaps no place is it more important than on public university campuses where today’s students will become tomorrow’s judges, legislators, and teachers. SB 364 overwhelmingly passed the Senate and is headed to House Education.

Unfortunately, "Fact-Free Speech" continues to swirl around Sen. Morrell’s SB 236 which seeks to extend prohibitions on aberrant sexual behavior with animals. SB 236 also deconstructs a valid and time-tested state prohibition against deviant behavior including with animals. This is an example that “sin complicates things and we live in a complicated society.” Evidence continues to validate that the brave actions of 10 Senators who voted against SB 236 were, in fact, justified. LFF seeks to work with proponents of SB 236 to ensure that a traditional viewpoint on human sexuality is upheld and sexual deviancy with animals is prosecuted in total. Stay tuned!

 

Tax Freedom Day Cometh!
CNS News | The Tax Foundation | Daily Signal | April 2018

2018 Tax Day is today, April 17th! However, Tax Freedom Day is this coming Thursday, April 19th!

We work until April 19 to earn enough money to pay your total tax bill. In other words, everything you earn until Thursday belongs to good ole Uncle Sam and in Louisiana, Cousin John Bel Edwards. What you earn starting Friday, you may keep!

Well, almost. Since 2002, federal expenses have surpassed federal revenues, with the budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion annually from 2009 to 2012. In the calendar year 2018, the deficit is expected to increase from $665 billion to $806 billion. If we include this annual federal borrowing, which represents future taxes owed, Tax Freedom Day would Day would occur 17 days later, on May 6th. Read more here.

Americans will pay $3.19 trillion in federal taxes and $1.80 trillion in state and local taxes. The total, $5.19 trillion is more than we spend on food, clothing, and housing—combined.

So, what does $5.19 trillion buy?

Right now, federal health programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare subsidies currently consume 28 percent of the budget. Federal health spending is projected to grow on an unsustainable trajectory of 6 percent per year over the next 10 years. That growth rate is about three times the projected pace of economic growth over the same period.

Meanwhile, Social Security, the single largest federal program, accounts for roughly a quarter of all federal spending. Its trust funds are already paying out more than they take in, and as more people retire, the system will face continued stress. Without reform, the program’s trustees project benefits will need to be cut as much as 23 percent if nothing is done by 2034.

 

Louisiana Congressional Races Matter
BR Business Report - Jeremy Alford | April 2018

U.S. Capitol’s Southside (House of Representatives) - Martin Jacobsen

Though most Louisiana voters aren’t paying much attention to the fall congressional races—during which six representatives will be sent to D.C.—Jeremy Alford says there’s a lot at stake for the Bayou State.

“Those unplugged voters may not be aware that the aftereffects of an election are not confined to its district lines, and that the lessons gleaned can be applied to everything from policy forecasts to political tea leaves,” Alford writes in his latest column. “Moreover, this is a fascinating time in the history of Louisiana’s U.S. House delegation.”

Alford notes Congressman Steve Scalise of Jefferson Paris is the majority whip, the third-highest rank in the nation’s lower chamber, while Congressman Cedric Richmond of Orleans Parish is also the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. All four other delegation members are either in their first or second terms: Clay Higgins of St. Landry Parish, Mike Johnson of Caddo Parish, Garret Graves of East Baton Rouge and Ralph Abraham of Richland Parish.

Perhaps none of them has more at stake than Scalise, who is viewed as a possible successor to Speaker Paul Ryan, who announced last week he would step down at the end of the year. Even though speculation was muted after Scalise—like Ryan—endorsed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Alford says that doesn’t mean Scalise is out of the running for a leadership win. “He could still move from the House’s number three job to number two, which McCarthy occupies now,” he writes. “Or he could still end up making a run for speaker, should McCarthy have trouble gathering the 218 votes needed.”

Either way, Scalise still has to first get re-elected back home this fall.

“To that end, his campaign team recently announced it had raised $3 million during the past three months—reportedly the largest such haul on record by a sitting whip,” Alford writes. “If you don’t have a frame of reference, that’s a rather large number."

 

Cops Are the Good Guys!
Prager U | April 2018

Are cops perfect? Of course, not. And no one should expect them to be.

Cops don’t have to be perfect. They have to be excellent. Every single day, under the most difficult conditions, the police protect us from the bad guys. In other words, they do their job and they do it well.

In the above Prager U video, former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke makes it very clear: cops are not the problem. "The police didn’t create the failed urban policies that have locked people into generational poverty. The police aren’t responsible for fatherless homes, failing schools, and bad lifestyle choices," Clark says.

Continue reading below to read Sheriff Clark's thoughts on what the real problem is and his tips on what to do if you want to avoid a bad outcome with a police officer.

 
 

"Elections should be held on April 16th - the day after we pay our income taxes. That is one of the few things that might discourage politicians from being big spenders." —Thomas Sowell.

 

How did you fare on income taxes this year, compared to last?

  • I got a bigger refund.
  • I got a smaller refund.
  • I paid more this year.
  • I paid less this year.
  • I paid about the same.
  • I haven't filed my taxes yet.
 

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