News for Monday 021218
By Dave Graichen
The weather decided to cooperate Sunday allowing the 25th annual Alexandria Mardi Gras Association Krewes Parade starts on schedule. A few small sprinkles of rain were felt early on, but not enough to dampen the spirits of spectators. Saturday’s Children’s parade was not so lucky. Heavy rains Saturday morning forced officials to call the event off..
Governor John Bel Edwards has called for a special session to start on February 19th. The 17-day special session is being called to address a one-billion-dollar fiscal cliff facing the state starting July 1st when a one-cent sales tax drops off the books. His plan calls for structural changes to the budget and tax policy. He is proposing to replace 994-million-dollars to keep TOPS and healthcare funded. The GOP has said the Governor’s excessive spending needs to stop. However, they have not made any solid suggestions as to where those cuts should be made.
Legislative leaders are optimistic the February special session will end with a deal to fill the one billion dollar budget gap that’s the result of the expiration of sales taxes in July. The session will begin February 19th, and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds says the two sides are getting close on an agreement. Governor Edwards has pushed for replacing the expiring one cent sales tax by eliminating certain sales tax deductions that benefit certain businesses.
Attorney General Jeff Landry filed a lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers alleging that the Corps expanded the Intracoastal Waterway in Vermillion Parish beyond the borders set in a 1920s agreement. He says even though there are agreements that allow states to construct new waterways, Landry says those states wouldn’t have allowed the Corp to over expand. The Governor says he’ll review the suit, but is concerned Landry did not consult with him, or the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
Out of the eight members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation, only three of them voted for the spending bill that reopened the federal government after a brief shutdown. US Representative Ralph Abraham was one of those three yes votes, because he says it increases federal funding for our military. Senator John Kennedy voted against the measure, because he says the bill increases the federal debt.
Governor John Bel Edwards and State Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson are in Washington to discuss infrastructure plans with the Trump Administration. Reports indicate the President could soon unveil a massive new infrastructure spending plan. Wilson says today’s roundtable discussion is a great opportunity to bring attention to the state’s aging infrastructure. The reports indicate the President could be seeking as much as 1.5 trillion dollars in new infrastructure spending.
Mangers and operators of Raising Canes attended a conference recently in Baton Rouge, celebrating the company’s success since opening their first store near the LSU campus in 1996. CEO Todd Graves had an exciting announcement for attendees. Some big expansions are taking place. 80 new locations are planned for this year. Stores are also operating overseas in the Middle East.
A Monroe man has designed a product called Streamleash to help you have better control of your dog. Ian Blaylock says as a runner, if his dog quickly ran in one direction, he would lose his balance and control of his pet. So far, the Kickstarter project has raised 21-hundred-dollars. Blaylock says orders made through the website will begin being delivered in May.
Al Wester, the first radio voice of the Saints, whose local and national broadcasting career spanned more than 60 years, died last week in a New Orleans hospital. Along with broadcasting the Saints games from 1967-70, Wester was the sports director at WDSU-TV for several years beginning in 1952 when he came to New Orleans from Greenville, South Carolina. Al Webster was 93.