Elect a democrat governor, expand the public sector and pass massive tax increases – what did you expect, louisiana f gas regulations 2015


Well, the oil and gas sector nationally isn’t weak. Nationally oil and gas has been a main driver of the economy. Maybe one reasons it’s weak here because the governor has dispatched an army of plaintiff lawyers attempting to sue oil and gas for billions of dollars. That’s certainly what oil and gas people in Louisiana, the ones who are left, will tell you.

Louisiana State University economist James Richardson said oil prices haven’t rebounded enough to make the heavy investment of offshore drilling attractive to oil companies, especially as they continue to exploit shale oil fields in Texas and elsewhere.

West Texas Intermediate Crude closed Friday at $69.72. That’s the highest number it’s been since November 26, 2014. Oil prices have started going back up. But there is no particular reason to see a massive comeback in oil and gas in Louisiana, other than a little bit of percolating interest in the Austin Chalk in the central part of the state.

The last three months of 2017 showed stronger growth for Louisiana, with its economy expanding at a 2.2 percent annual rate. That still trailed the U.S. average of 2.7 percent. Richardson said it was too soon to tell if that means the state has turned the corner.

And again, this is an economy which is the worst in the country, shrinking by 0.2 percent, despite a massive infusion of government spending since John Bel Edwards was elected. In 2017 that infusion was actually trimmed back by 0.1 percent – when Edwards blew up the state’s bottom line with $2 billion in tax increases in 2016, Louisiana’s economy actually shrank by 0.4 percent.

Diversifying Louisiana’s economy? Oil and gas, defined as the mining sector by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, actually grew by 0.3 percent in 2017. But nondurable goods manufacturing was off almost a whole percent, at -0.9. Transportation and warehousing lost 0.16 percent, which isn’t a surprise given a sizable inventory tax increase. Agriculture lost .07 percent. Information lost 0.1 percent. Looks like a diverse failure.

But at the end of the day, this governor lied his way into office by denying he would be raising taxes and distracting voters with ads about hookers, and as soon as he was inaugurated he began governing precisely as the state’s furthest-left member of its legislature would be expected to govern – raising taxes, growing government and treating the state’s productive class as prey.

Treat people like prey long enough, which isn’t very long, and they will begin acting like prey. Namely, they’ll flee for their lives. That’s why Louisiana had 27,000 people pick up and leave last year, with a pretty good expectation that population loss will only get worse in the next measurement.

And behind the scenes it’s worse. You’re going to start hearing some stories about corruption at high levels within state government. You’re going to hear about some ugly developments with respect to Edwards’ signature legislative achievement, criminal justice reform – and the folks on the Right who worked with him to produce that achievement are probably going to have to turn on him for his implementation of it. You’re going to hear more bad economic news – Smoothie King isn’t the only local company looking to move its headquarters elsewhere.

Meanwhile Louisiana is mired in yet ANOTHER budget crisis, because Edwards insists on spending more money than the state has, and in a week or two the legislature will be in a special session at his demand for tax increases, with a stalemate to come – he can’t command the loyalty of the Legislative Black Caucus, which has balked at supporting sales taxes, and thus has to join them in calling for income taxes which are a dead letter with the legislature’s Republican majority. So how is he going to get the tax increases he wants to close a $500 million budget gap? Your guess is as good as ours, but nobody at the Capitol has a lot of faith in his leadership.

Edwards opened the legislative session calling for occupational licensing reform and specifically named florists as an occupation needing delicensing. Well, the bill to do that died 6-1 in a Senate committee last week, which should give you an indication (1) of Edwards’ strength, and (2) of how effective his stated word is in creating action. Louisiana, the worst-performing state in the union, is also the only one protecting its public from the ravages of unlicensed floral arrangements. The current governor, despite things he might spew forth in speeches, can’t or won’t even fix that obvious blemish on our economic record.

So, Louisiana, what are you going to do about this? You’re the worst-run state in America and your jobs and capital and people are leaving. Your house is on fire and the guy you elected to take care of the place is running from room to room pouring kerosene on the floor.