Return of the REC follies

Return of the REC follies

Louisiana’s tax collection forecast has improved since last April – by an extra $170 million in the current fiscal year and $103 million next year. But that money won’t be available to spend because the state’s Revenue Estimating Conference deadlocked in partisanship on Thursday. The four-member REC requires a unanimous vote to update the forecast, but Rep. Cameron Henry voted no. Mark Ballard from the Advocate explains:  

In addition to making more difficult Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ task of drafting a proposed spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1, the move more immediately sidelines funding to restart ferries in New Orleans on Friday, a coastal restoration and storm project in Plaquemines Parish, as well as completing the contract for the land-based casino in New Orleans.


Making sure tax incentives deliver
When DXC Technology applied for $100 million in tax incentives for its new digital technology center in downtown New Orleans, it promised to create 300 well-paying local jobs over the next six years. But the company failed to meet its target for average salary over its first year of operation, and as a result, reports Jessica Williams in | The Advocate, the city and state are clawing back some of the company’s incentive payments:

In exchange for $115 million in state incentives, DXC agreed to spend $18.9 million on 300 employees in that first year, ending March 31, 2019, with average salaries of $63,000 a year. The company has made good on its vow to fill a Poydras Street high-rise with at least 300 workers, but in its first year it spent only about half of what it promised on payroll, according to state and city officials. … [T]he state, which was due to reimburse more than $3 million of DXC’s first-year expenses, is likely to withhold about $235,000 of that amount, according to records at Louisiana Economic Development.


Police violence among the leading killers of young black men
A report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that 1 in 1000 black men will die by police force over their lifespan, making police violence one of the leading causes of death for young black men (the full, un-paywalled report is available here). The report also found that young black men are 2.5 times more likely to die by police violence than white men of the same age. Frederick H. Lowe of the Louisiana Weekly explains:

“Police in the United States kill far more people than do police in other advanced countries industrial democracies,” PNAS reported. The report listed the names Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Charleena Lyles, Stephon Clark and Tamir Rice and many others who have been murdered by the police.

Another report in the Lancet details the profound mental health impact of police killings:

The murders also affect Black men’s mental health and reinforces inequality in society between Blacks and whites, according to The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal. In a report titled “Police killings and their spillover effects on the mental health of Black Americans: a population-based, quasi-experimental study” reported that police killings of Black men have a spillover effect on the mental health of people not directly affected. “Our estimates therefore suggest that the population mental health burden from police killings among Black Americans is nearly as large as the mental health burden associated with diabetes,” The Lancet wrote.


‘Cancer Alley’ residents find little support in DC
Residents from Reserve, a historically black town along the Mississippi River, sought answers from U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond about the alarming rates of cancer among family and friends living near the area’s petrochemical plants. Instead they were given a two minute interview and photo op. According to the Guardian’s Oliver Laughland and Emily Holden:

Seven of the 10 most air-polluted census tracts in America sit in his district, according to EPA data. While a proposed massive expansion of a plastics factory in his district could almost double the amount of toxic air pollution in the parish it will be constructed in.

The newspaper says Richmond remains distant from environmental justice issues:

But the congressman, one of the highest recipients of donations from the oil, gas and chemicals industries in the Democratic House caucus, has paid little public attention to perhaps the most internationally pressing issue in Louisiana’s second congressional district – the continuing proliferation of polluting petrochemical and fossil fuel plants in the region. 


Number of the Day
1,164 – The number of deaths by police killing in 2018 across the United States. (Source: Mapping Police Violence)