Saturday, January 19, 2013

Education Policy Forum: Implications of Education Reform

Louisiana Progress Press Advisory

Education Policy Forum:
Implications of Education Reform

For additional information please contact Ryan West Phone: (225)955-0930

Louisiana Progress will host an education policy forum in Hammond on January 29th at 5:30 at the First Methodist ChurchThe focus of the forum is “How do we improve education for all children?”

WHAT: Education Policy Forum

WHERE: First United Methodist Church

WHEN:Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 at 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

WHO: Moderator:  Christopher Tyson, Louisiana Progress Board Member and Professor at LSU Law School

Confirmed Panelists:
  • Lottie Beebe, BESE Board Member 
  • Theresa Hamilton, CAO of the Tangipahoa School System 
  • Rep. John Bel Edwards, House Education Committee 
  • Rep. Chris Broadwater, House Education Committee 
  • Kevin Crovetto, Teacher 
  • Barbara Forrest, Southeastern Louisiana University Professor 
  • Lemar Marshall, Hammond City Councilman
  • Karen Bell, Teacher 
  • James Kirylo, Southeastern Louisiana University Professor 
  • Ashley Walker, Principal at Westside Middle School 
  • John Ayers, Executive Director of the Tulane Cowen Institute
Louisiana Progress is inviting community leaders, families participating in this school system, elected officials and clergy to attend and learn more about the impact of education reform on schools, teachers and the families in Louisiana. 

Melissa Flournoy, Louisiana Progress Board Chair stated, 
We hope to address some of the challenges to implementation of the education reform legislation, implications for the on-going desegregation case and opportunities for improving public education.   We are interested in framing a discussion that can be thoughtful, thorough and constructive based on data and best practices."
The media will also be able to follow the event by following @LAProgress or using the hashtag #LAEduReform on twitter, and LAProgress on Facebook.                
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Louisiana Progress is a private, nonprofit organization which advocates for solutions to the policy challenges that continue to shackle Louisiana to the past. Louisiana Progress, the Coalition for Louisiana Progress, was incorporated in 2005 as a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization supported by foundation and individual donations.

P.O. Box 66377, Baton Rouge, LA 70896    
Note: This forum is cosponsored by the Hammond Daily Star newspaper.
Dayne Sherman lives in Ponchatoula and is the author of Welcome to the Fallen Paradise: A Novel. His website at
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***This message speaks only for the writer, a citizen, not for any present or past employer.***

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A tax plan only Jindal could love

The Worst Economic Plan in Louisiana History

By Dayne Sherman
Talk About the South Column
Jan. 10, 2013 – 450 words

After Mitt Romney lost the presidential election, I thought Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal planned to return to the reality-based world. He argued against dumbed-down conservatism, argued for broadening the tent to include more voters, and he even broke with the Catholic Church on oral contraceptives. 

However, I am now certain he has given up good sense as one of his New Year’s resolutions. On Jan. 10, he unveiled his plan for the upcoming legislative session: No more corporate or personal income taxes. Instead, he’ll raise the state sales tax rate by three percentage points.

It makes a good slogan, but it will be an unqualified disaster for Louisiana.

Let me explain what will happen if Jindal’s half-baked tax plan goes through.

We will have another revenue crisis just like we have had every year since 2008. The Legislature will pass a budget, and then Jindal will line-item veto what he wants to cut, often disciplining disloyal legislators in the process. The mid-year cuts will be worse than before. Jindal will use his post-session power to slash and burn and privatize at will without legislative oversight. He will destroy state institutions and services.

Citizens living near the border with Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi, will shop outside of Louisiana. Many folks with Internet access will avoid taxes by shopping online.

The poor will see their tax burden skyrocket, and the rich will sing Jindal’s song for saving them a huge tax bill.

But don’t some states eschew income taxes? Yes, but they have high property taxes, which Louisiana will never accept or approve.

To learn more about the facts and ethics of these sorts of tax schemes, I invite you to read the work of Prof. Susan Pace Hamill, a tax expert and law professor in Alabama. Hamill, a devout Methodist layperson, shows that these tax plans are designed to oppress the poor, and they do not meet the moral smell test.  She argues that this kind of sales tax scheme is unchristian and morally repugnant. (Her writings are widely available online.)

If you hate the poor, this tax plan is for you. If you want to see Louisiana continue to approach Third World status, this tax plan is for you. If you are a young rising star in the Republican Party and want to get cozy with kingmaker Grover Norquist, this tax plan is for you.

Regardless, be careful of what you wish for. The chickens are already coming home to roost in Louisiana, and reckless Bobby Jindal won’t be gone until Jan. 2016.

Dayne Sherman lives in Ponchatoula and is the author of Welcome to the Fallen Paradise: A Novel. His website at
Web & Social Media:
Talk About the South Blog:
Tweet the South - Twitter:
***This message speaks only for the writer, a citizen, not for any present or past employer.***