Louisiana voters will make important decisions about the state’s tax structure when they head to the polls on Saturday. Despite an uptick in early voting numbers, overall turnout for the election is expected to be low. While New Orleans voters will choose candidates for major offices, including mayor, the election comes during a slow time on the political calendar for most Louisianans. The Advocate’s Mark Ballard previews expected voter turnout for Saturday’s election.
(Pollster John) Couvillion says the numbers indicated that about 16% of the state’s 3 million registered voters will decide four Constitutional amendments, two of which would start the ball rolling to sweeping changes in the way Louisiana levies and collects taxes. About 35% of New Orleans voters are expected to participate in the election that will choose most major offices from mayor and sheriff to the entire City Council. “What you’re seeing is a change in culture regarding mail-in balloting. I would expect a higher turnout, going up maybe a few points. But it won’t be 50% higher as the numbers suggest,” Couvillon said Monday.
Amendment 2 would make it harder to raise the revenue that’s needed to ensure that teachers are paid adequately, all citizens have access to quality health care and families have the support they need to thrive. It would eliminate an expensive tax break for the rich. But it would swap that for an unnecessary cut in tax rates for people and corporations. This “reform” would preserve a status quo where the richest Louisianans pay taxes at a lower rate than families that struggle to make ends meet. Click here to read LBP’s full analysis on Amendment 2.
Census undercount costs Louisiana
Louisiana could miss out on as much as $46 million in federal funding because its population was undercounted during the 2020 Census, according to the Urban Institute. This undercount is part of a national problem: the Census Bureau failed to record an estimated 1.6 million people across all states. The biggest undercounts were among people of color, renters, noncitizens and children – and the problem was worse last year than in either the 2000 or the 2010 Census. The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate columnist Will Sutton explains how missing out on Census dollars affects a poor state like Louisiana.
That $46.1 million we might lose? That’s just Medicaid dollars. That’s one of more than 300 programs funded by federal dollars. In addition to Medicaid, an accurate count determines funding levels for low-income tax credits, adoption assistance, highway construction and community centers. The Urban League of Louisiana was intimately engaged with the census count. They know count specifics and work with statewide partners and the National Urban League to ensure the best result. “We are a high poverty state and we struggle with health care access,” said Nicole Jolly, the Louisiana group’s vice president for strategy and engagement. “The dollars that we miss out on from decades of undercounting, especially of communities of color, impact the daily experiences of those we serve.”
Marcus Jones makes history at NSU
Northwestern State University selected its first Black president in the institution’s 137 year history. Marcus Jones, currently serving as the school’s interim president, was unanimously elected by the University of Louisiana system Board of Supervisors on Monday. The Louisiana Illuminator’s JC Canicosa reports on this historic decision.
Jones said he never previously thought about being the university’s first Black president because “I’ve never, during the history that I’ve had at Northwestern, been treated as anything other than just a regular human being.” “But I know (being the first Black president) has a greater impact on other people, especially individuals who were not allowed to enter Northwestern who still live in Natchitoches,” he said. “So I think for them this is a special moment.”
Being honest about America’s greatness and shortcomings
A recent viral video shows a Virginia voter proclaiming his ardent opposition to critical race theory, only to reveal that he doesn’t have the foggiest idea about what critical race theory actually is. It’s a debate that is playing out in Louisiana, where arguments over how race is taught in schools are holding up the adoption of new social studies standards. As The Advocate’s editorial board notes, Louisiana’s students deserve an honest presentation of our state’s and our nation’s history.
We freely admit our prejudices: America is a great nation. Its story is one of growing freedom and prosperity. The ideal of liberty that is at the core of America’s greatness is a gift to all the nations. And this belief is why we are bewildered by those who want to gin up a controversy over teaching the facts about the nation’s story, as well as Louisiana’s role in this ongoing drama, both before statehood and after.
Number of the Day
60,000 – Number of Louisiana 3- and 4-year-olds that would gain access to free, high-quality preschool under the Build Back Better framework. (Source: The White House)