Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Louisiana isn't learning

by Emily Metzgar

National media continue keeping tabs on developments here. The New York Times just ran an article about municipal shenanigans in Kenner. Other coverage has followed the story of a New Orleans mayoral candidate arrested when she appeared to qualify for the election.

Other coverage incredulously related failed legislative efforts to cut the number of New Orleans tax assessors, blocked by a lawmaker whose relatives held jobs threatened by the move.

Still other coverage occasionally reminds readers one of the state's congressmen is under investigation by federal authorities. The message the rest of the nation gets is Louisiana hasn't absorbed the lessons of last summer, and worse, Louisiana doesn't see this as a problem.

After much talk about the need for a leaner and meaner Louisiana in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the governor's proposed budget only reinforces the message that Louisiana isn't learning from its plight. Rather than prudently reserving the increased sales tax revenues the state has earned as a result of post-disaster relief purchases, the governor proposes spending it.

But Louisiana can be sure of one thing: The rest of the nation will be watching and shaking its head.

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