Category: Louisiana Economics

Shreveport Down, New Orleans Up, in New Data

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by Elliott Stonecipher

Elliott_StonecipherTexas is still on figurative population-gain fire according to the U. S. Census Bureau’s new report on population change.  During the Bureau’s most recent statistical year, July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2013, three of the nation’s five fastest-growing cities are in the Lone Star state:  San Marcos, Frisco and Cedar Park were No. 1, 2 and 4 in population growth by percentage during the subject year, each growing by at least 5%.  The data are from the Bureau’s official population Estimates program.[Census Bureau Geographic Terms & Definitions]

Louisiana cities remain in a different category, as has long been the case, with 2 of its 9 largest cities by population showing losses, with 6 others showing relatively small increases, and with 1 making the list of the nation’s Top 100, New Orleans.

Growth?
Growth?

Clearly shifting into a higher gear in its comeback from Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans’ one-year growth was +2.4%, 369,888 in July 1, 2012 to 378,715 Read more

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Soaring Caddo Commission Revenue & Spending

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by Elliott Stonecipher

Parish-Heaven-May 3 2014[Caddo Parish voters go to the polls on May 3rd to cast ballots – a second time – on a 1.75-mill property tax for the Caddo Commission.  Voters defeated the identical tax proposition last October.  This series of articles is written in that context.  Early voting on the tax proposition continues through Saturday, April 26th.] 

The idea for this article came from a meeting two months ago with Caddo Commission officials, both elected and staff.  Soon after, this research began, focusing on a question of growing interest and importance:

how has the Caddo Commission, in a parish with almost no population growth since 1990, gathered in so much revenue – over 15-times population growth – and supercharged its spending – more than 13-times population growth?Caddo-windows-of-MONEY

This is an initial report on progress in finding answers.

The attached data table provides details.  Fund categories therein are the Commission’s, taken directly from its website, “Summary of 2013 Budget,” Page C-1.  Baseline data from 1990 has been provided by Commission staff in response to public information requests.  Staff has also responded to follow-up requests over these weeks.  Other sources of data include the U. S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Louisiana Tax Commission, and Caddo Parish Tax Assessor Charles Henington.

All 1990 data are shown before and after adjustment for inflation.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that the cumulative rate of inflation since 1990 to be +80.8%.

Broadly, these findings are most notable:

Money from Home Assessments…  The Commission’s Haynesville Shale windfall is not even in the discussion.  Flush with money, a tiny bit under $50,000,000 in discretionary Read more

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Governor Buddy Roemer’s Warning on Population Slide

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by Elliott Stonecipher

Roemer speaks in AlexandriaMy long-time friend Buddy Roemer spoke last week in Alexandria about our “disappearing” Louisiana, but it was population troubles on which the former Congressman and Governor focused, not our eroding coastline.  Buddy well understands.  He was elected governor at the very time the Oil Bust hammered Louisiana from more directions than some of us knew to look.  He gets this … and knows to sound the alarm.

This is a subject I know well.  In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, I completed a study entitled Louisiana Population History & Trends, and have since presented it to interested audiences throughout the state.  My intention is to better explain both our state’s history of population growth, and the serious public policy implications of our relatively new and increasing population challenges.  One point in the presentation well and simply puts our present circumstance in understandable context:

Damaged...
Damaged…

“Even the Civil War did not damage Louisiana’s population growth like the Oil Bust, or Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Even given the damage to Louisiana of the Civil War, our population grew 2.7% between 1860 and 1870.  In the 1980-1990 decade of the Oil Bust, it grew only 0.33%, and only 1.4% in the 2000-2010 decade of the storms.”

Buddy Roemer dealt each day of his term with Read more

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PAR Questions Jindal’s Budget

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by CB ForgotstonRIP-THE END IS HERE

Wednesday, Public Affairs Research Council (“PAR”) released a review of the revenue side of Bobby Jindal’s proposed Operating Budget for FY15 (begins July 1). (See report here.)

Some highlights of the findings by PAR

–PAR questions some of the proposed budget increases.

These increases are aimed at programs that generated negative headlines for the administration last year when the governor’s treatment of them was less-generous, though in some cases Read more

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John M. Barry & Louisiana’s Last Hope

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By Tom Aswell*

John M. Barry Credit Ken Goldstein
John M. Barry Credit Ken Goldstein

He glances down at the cellphone lying on the tabletop in the State Capitol restaurant and says almost apologetically, “I never had one of these until two years ago.” He laughs at his own reluctance to accept modern technology. “When I got it, somebody sent me a message welcoming me to the 20th century. Not the 21st, but the 20th.”

That is the first impression one gets of John M. Barry, the soft-spoken point man in the ongoing lawsuit by the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (SELFPAE) against 97 oil and gas companies over the destruction of the state’s coastal wetlands.

He speaks in a voice so low that we were forced to move to another table, away from the television that had been directly above us and which kept churning out obnoxious lawyer ads, an irony not lost on the restaurant’s only two customers.

Barryrisingtide-210-expBarry, a gifted researcher and writer is author of several bestselling books, among them 2005’s The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, which was named the year’s outstanding book on science or medicine, and his stark 1998 chronicle Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America. Rising Tide won the Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians for the year’s best book of

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Missing & Found Money Doesn’t Lie

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KTBS has nailed a critical flaw in Shreveport’s accounting for public assets. The following is an email I sent to the mayor and each city councilman.

Marion Marks, Shreveport Citizen/Taxpayer

http://www.ktbs.com/story/24641827/city-audit-finds-money-in-an-unlikely-place

Questioned Bank Account StatementAnd the question I feel compelled to ask immediately is… “How could money (a liquid asset), a LINE ITEM, fall off of a balance sheet?” It seems to the inquiring mind, that someone had to actively determine that this line item was to “disappear” from the balance sheet. And that type thing requires active energy & planning. It’s not as if a page of paper fell out of a notebook, and it’s not something that you can wipe off a

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Huff Post: Shreveport-Bossier Economy “Fastest Shrinking!”

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by Elliott Stonecipher

   economy-small Online blog and news source The Huffington Post released a study Sunday evening which ranks the Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana economy as the “fastest shrinking” in the nation.  In the study’s ranking of “America’s Fastest Growing (and Shrinking) Economies,” also cited is the Lafayette, Louisiana area economy, ranked fourth among the ten areas with nation-worst economic growth.

economic_holeThe Huff Post article details the study’s methodology by noting it is based on the U. S. Conference of Mayors’ recent report produced “in conjunction with forecasting company IHS Global Insight (IHS).”  Further detail in the article notes the study’s use of employment / unemployment data from the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), along with economic data from the U. S. Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey.  The study “… identified the Read more

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Isn’t 10 percent 10 percent?

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by tomaswell

10 = 10Did Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols violate state law when she approved an amendment to the Alvarez & Marsal (A&M)?

In May of 2011, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Fannin (R-Jonesboro) sharply criticized the Division of Administration (DOA) for DOA’s approval of a $6.8 million contract amendment for F.A. Richard and Associates (FARA), the firm that initially took over the operations of the Office of Risk Management.

Fannin and other members of the committee were upset that DOA did not seek approval of the contract amendment from the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget (JLCB).

Whose ApprovalThings got tense as Fannin tore into Assistant Commissioner of Administration Steven Procopio. “All I’m seeing here is Read more

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Census Bureau: Louisiana Population Growth Continues Lag

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by Elliott Stonecipher

New U. S. Census Bureau data show Louisiana’s population growth continuing to trail-off in years following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2013, official estimates by Census show a total increase in population for Louisiana of 23,336 residents, from 4,602,134 to 4,625,470, some 3,800 fewer than the previous year.  The percentage population change, +0.51%, continues to trail the national rate of growth, +0.72%.  The nation’s population increased to 316,128,839 from 313,873,685 during the reported Estimates year.

Additional and important data from the Census Bureau in this context was not included with today’s release as it has been previously, with Census announcing an additional data release next month.  Included in the delay are data showing how many of the 23,336 new Louisiana residents are attributable to increases in births-minus-deaths as compared to any net in-migration of residents from other states or nations.

Since the period July 1, 2005 to July 1, 2006 – during which Hurricanes Katrina and Rita triggered the outmigration of hundreds-of- Read more

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Budget Shortfall Solution Outrageous

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2013-2014calendar-$50M Down

by CB Forgotston

Just 4 months into the current fiscal year the state’s Operating Budget is already $50 Million short. ( See story here.)

DHH’s response to the $50 Million shortfall in the state Medicaid Program is outrageous.

The guy in charge of finances at DHH says no cuts will be necessary; he’ll simply ask the leges for more money. No explanation of from where the extra money will come.

Apparently, it is responses such as  this that have led some leges to predict no mid-year budget cuts.

Think for a moment if every state agency decided to spend more than they were appropriated and simply asked for more money.

We actually pay people like Jerry Phillips a 6-figure salary to come up with a solution that a 5-year old child would.

You can’t make this stuff up!

C.B.

Youre Fired

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