News for Tuesday 032817
By Dave Graichen
This past weekend was a deadly one on our state highways. State Police say their troopers investigated 10 fatal crashes that resulted in 15 deaths of people. Sgt. Jared Sandifer says knowing that these crashes could have been avoided continues to frustrate law enforcement.
He says lack of seatbelt use, impairment and even excessive speed contributed to the crashes. Also several involved a vehicle crossing into the opposite lane of travel.
A new report indicated the majority of Louisiana residents support raising taxes to fund education and other state services. According to the 2017 Louisiana Study, 62 percent of those polled support tax increases for spending on K-12, and 59 percent for higher education. 53 percent support more taxes for health care, and 57 percent for transportation infrastructure. However, when asked, few of those surveyed could say what taxes they would be willing to see increase.
A bill filed for the regular session seeks to fully fund TOPS by using a portion of riverboat gaming revenue. For the first time ever, the popular taxpayer funded scholarship didn’t cover all of a student’s tuition costs this year. Baton Rouge Representative Franklin Foil says currently over 75 percent of riverboat gaming funds go to the state general fund. He says less than 25 percent of the funds are going to education. But he says the whole purpose of those funds is supposed to be funding education. Foil says the governor’s proposed budget for next fiscal year only funds TOPS at 70 percent.
Most Louisianans oppose reducing the amount of the TOPS scholarship award to cut costs, according to a recent survey from LSU. State leaders have proposed several means of making TOPS more affordable, including limiting the amount each student receives. Michael Henderson with the LSU Public Policy Research Lab says 64 percent of respondents are not in favor of that method.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission says for the first time since August of 2015, the state saw over the year gains in nonfarm jobs and private employment. Construction, professional and business services showed the largest gains in the February jobs report, while mining and lodging which includes the oil and gas sector saw its first over the month gain since October 2014.
In order to help the state with its budget problems, Amite Representative Robby Carter has proposed legislation that would put a tax on oil that’s processed at Louisiana refinieries. Carter has also filed a bill that would tax oil that passes through pipelines. Carter believes oil and gas companies have the money to pay for these additional taxes. Carter says he knows there will be heavy opposition to these proposals.
Seeing a doctor could become more difficult in years to come, as a nationwide shortage of doctors is expected to impact Louisiana. The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts we could see 88-thousand fewer doctors by 2025.
We were expecting to hear from Governor John Bel Edwards Monday on the tax proposals that he will push in the legislative session that starts two weeks from today. But that announcement has been pushed back until Wednesday, giving the governor a chance to collect more data and conduct more closed-door meetings with legislators.
Louisiana’s revised coastal restoration masterplan will be taken up by lawmakers in the regular session, as part of the governor’s legislative package to protect and restore the state’s coast. The bill contains 120 projects to be completed in the next five years that will maintain over 800 square miles of coastal land. Jennings Senator Blade Morrish, who co-authored the legislation, says thirty projects are scheduled to begin or continue construction in the next fiscal year. The masterplan allocates $50 billion over 50 years, and Morrish says some state dollars are used, but most of the funding comes from outside sources.
Most families are satisfied with their child’s early childhood provider. That’s according to a recent survey from the Department of Education, which finds 90 percent of respondents are likely to choose their program again. But, while 88 percent say they are satisfied with the quality of their child’s program, Conway says four out of ten families note they are not sure if their child is making progress, or whether they are learning the necessary skills to prepare them for kindergarten.
Overdose deaths in New Orleans doubled last year, according to the city’s coroner, who described it as a “public health crisis” and called for more addiction treatment.
Dr. Jeffrey Rouse said in a news release Monday that 211 people died of accidental drug-related deaths in 2016 as compared to 92 the previous year.
The Pelicans added one to the loss column last night as they fell to Utah 100 to 108. The Pelicans next face the Dallas Mavericks tomorrow night.
Sixth ranked LSU will host instate rival Tulane tonight at the Box as the Tigers begin a five-game home stand. The Bayou Bengals are coming off a 10-6 victory over Florida. LSU is 18-7 on the season and they are coming off a week in which they split four games. The Green Wave won two games over the tigers last season. Coverage of the game tonight can be heard starting at 6p on KSYL 970am and 100.3 HD3FM