While Rep. Ray Garofalo, the chairman of Louisiana’s House Education Committee, has remained silent on reports of sexual harassment and assault at LSU, he has introduced a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would potentially make it illegal for school and university teachers to teach certain things about sexism or racism. House Bill 564 would apply to elementary and secondary schools and postsecondary institutions, including the state’s flagship university and other public and private colleges and universities in the state. But advocates argue that this bill censors free speech and limits academic freedom. WAFB’s Lester Duhe reports:
“Our academic freedom right now allows for diversity. People can take African-American studies and gender studies if they want, they can take European history which is entirely white. So, what this bill does, is it tries to force a conversation about people who have grievances against the others. About other generations, other people being able to be part of the conversation about American history. and once again it’s about American exceptionalism. But you can’t talk about the beauty of America, without talking about the dark sins of America, which has been racism and sexism,” said [LBP’s Davante] Lewis.
The sales tax is too damn high
Louisiana’s high sales taxes, which take a larger percentage of household income from the people who make the least, are the main reason our state tax system is inequitable. Now, a recent poll from the Public Policy Research Lab at LSU Manship School of Mass Communication’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs found that a bipartisan majority of Louisiana’s residents believe that the state’s regressive sales tax rate is too high. More from the poll:
A majority (54%) of Louisiana residents thinks that the state sales tax is too high (Figure 1). Majorities of both Democrats (53%) and Republicans (61%) agree. Independents, however, split more evenly between saying the sales tax is too high (50%) and saying it is about right (46%). … The survey also includes questions asking participants about the state tax burdens of lower-income, middle-income,and upper-income people,as well as small and large businesses. Pluralities say lower-income people (41%) and middle-income people (48%) pay more than their fair share of state taxes. In contrast, half (50%) of Louisiana residents say that upper-income people pay less than their fair share. Louisianans have very different views of the tax burdens that small and large businesses bear. Half (50%) of Louisiana residents say small businesses pay more than their fair share of state taxes. Even more (56%) say large businesses pay less than their fair share.
Don’t be like Georgia
The devastating collapse of the Texas power grid in February should serve as a warning to Louisianans who want to emulate our neighbor’s experiment in deregulating public utilities. Now, as businesses like Major League Baseball distance themselves from Georgia over that state’s restrictive voting laws, our state has a new opportunity to learn from our regional neighbors about the high costs of bad policy. Nola.com | The Advocate’s Will Sutton explains how corporate backlash to the effort to eliminate widespread voting – the foundation of our democracy – could hurt Louisiana’s already fragile economy during the Covd-19 recovery.
If our legislators insist on following the national trend to restrict and suppress voting, it might not be good for business and for the thousands of people who earn income based on conferences, meetings and major events. As we’re coming out of this awful COVID-19 pandemic, we need to be cautious about welcoming thousands of people but we need to consider the major events we can handle with safety protocols in place. When it is safe, we need tourists to visit and enjoy the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Essence Festival and the Sugar Bowl. New Orleans is scheduled to host the NCAA men’s Final Four in April 2022. We don’t need to mess that up. The NFL’s Super Bowl is scheduled for New Orleans in 2025. We don’t need to mess that up.
A procedural boost for Biden’s infrastructure plan
President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan got a boost on Monday, as the Senate parliamentarian ruled that the package could bypass the 60-vote threshold in the upper chamber through a process known as reconciliation. But as the New York Times’ Emily Cochrane explains, opposition within the president’s own party still remains.
But the plan is sure to undergo rounds of debate and adjustments to woo the necessary support — even among Democrats. On Monday, Senator Joe Manchin III, a centrist Democrat from West Virginia, told a radio host in his home state, Hoppy Kercheval, that “as the bill exists today, it needs to be changed.” Mr. Manchin said he was against raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, up from 21 percent, and would demand changes be made before voting on the bill. “If I don’t vote to get on it, it’s not going anywhere,” he said, adding that several other Democrats were against the plan in the current form. “So we’re going to have some leverage here.”
Despite Manchin’s opposition to raising the corporate tax rate, the Biden administration began rolling out tax increases on large corporations that would fund the infrastructure package:
On Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen threw her support behind an international effort to create a global minimum tax that would apply to multinational corporations, regardless of where they locate their headquarters. Such a global tax, she said, could help prevent a “race to the bottom” in which countries cut their tax rates in order to entice companies to move headquarters and profits across borders.
Number of the Day
57% – Percentage of Louisianans that support raising the state’s gasoline tax if it is used to fund transportation infrastructure. (Source: Public Policy Research Lab at LSU’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs)