Louisiana editorial roundup
Louisiana editorial roundup
The Associated Press
Nov. 15, 2017
Recent editorials from Louisiana newspapers:
The Lake Charles American Press on the likelihood of a state constitutional convention:
Those Louisiana legislators who believe a constitutional convention will be necessary to reform the state's budget and tax systems are probably right, but the odds of that happening are "slim to none." Even the men and women who wrote the 1974 state constitution are convinced the times aren't right.
Framers of the 1974 document held a 44th reunion last week and many of the delegates said they think today's legislators don't get along well enough to get the job done, according to a report in The Advocate.
Rep. Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge and a longtime proponent of holding another convention, knows how difficult it would be to convene one again. He got a resolution to have a commission study the possibility of holding a convention out of the House in 2015, but it died in a Senate committee. Foil's 2016 effort to call a limited convention died in a House committee.
"A lot of citizens and voters are frustrated and they would like to see a new constitutional convention," Foil told the newspaper. "But when you start pushing it, the interests protected in the constitution are opposed and the votes for it fade away."
Tony Guarisco, 79, a Morgan City lawyer in 1973 and a convention delegate, said, "It (a convention) would be a disaster. I don't think with the divisiveness in today's political atmosphere that it would have success."
Current Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego and a legislator since 1972, said he expects more efforts will be made to call a convention but it isn't a good idea right now.
"In this atmosphere, I'm not sure the time is right," he said. "This (1973) group came together and compromised. These folks found a way to find some common ground. And that's what's missing in the Legislature today."
The current Legislature had an opportunity at its spring session to reform the state's budget and tax systems, but failed to even come close. The partisanship that has virtually deadlocked progress in Congress has found its way to Baton Rouge.
Former Gov. Edwin W. Edwards, 90, who was at last week's reunion, called the 1973 constitutional convention and praised the document it wrote. And from the looks of things, it will be around much longer.
The Advocate on DXC Technology's expansion to New Orleans:
The expansion into New Orleans of a big national technology company is welcome news anytime, as Louisiana continues to grow its national footprint in the knowledge economy.
It's particularly good news, though, for three reasons mentioned by a happy Gov. John Bel Edwards: "With this project, Louisiana gains a next-generation leader in global technology services, our college graduates will find unprecedented job opportunities at home, and New Orleans will welcome a landmark project to elevate its economy as the city celebrates its Tricentennial next year."
All good, so we join the governor and mayor and business leaders in welcoming the Virginia-based firm, DXC Technology, providing technology and consulting services for businesses and governments. It formed this year as the result of a merger of CSC and the Enterprise Services business of Hewlett Packard Enterprises. The office plans to employ eventually 2,000, probably in a downtown tower, although the location has yet to be announced.
The announcement is not the first big win for Louisiana's decade-long quest to become part of the technology economy. Under Govs. Kathleen Blanco, Bobby Jindal and Edwards, economic development officials have targeted such companies and generated real returns: Electronic Arts on LSU's campus and then IBM in downtown Baton Rouge and CGI in Lafayette. GE Capital was a big win five years ago for the Crescent City. There are also homegrown companies like CenturyLink in Monroe, which began as a tiny telephone company and is now a big player in technology.
As with all big job announcements, there is also a generous helping of state incentives that have become par for the development course. They total about $120 million, or less than the company's expected annual payroll if it grows as expected through 2024.
Some of the incentives are not so typical. The company will get hiring assistance from the state's highly regarded FastStart recruitment program. Louisiana government will also put up $25 million for universities for computer science and other programs related to the new company's workforce. For the future, we hope that the state and private donors will invest further in colleges and universities in the region and throughout Louisiana.
This is a big jobs deal. It can also be a game-changer for New Orleans, providing one of the biggest payrolls in the city in the sought-after tech sector. Mayor Mitch Landrieu is right to acclaim it as a validation of the city's recovery from the desperate days of 2005, but it is also a talisman of the future: The combination of culture and quality of life with tech-savvy workers can mean much to New Orleans with DXC, but also help lure other companies.
We congratulate the state's economic development team for making it happen.
The Courier of Houma on a new website by the Louisiana Department of Education:
Parents, students and taxpayers need all the information they can get about our schools.
And a new website put out by the Louisiana Department of Education seeks to make that information clear and easy to access.
That is a step up for the many people who rely on our public schools.
"This system is designed for families. All the information included is information families say they wanted," said Sydni Dunn, a spokeswoman for the department. "We've been able to confirm by talking with other states that Louisiana is the first state to offer an online tool of this sort to give information from birth all the way through grade 12."
This is an excellent development in that it actively encourages parents and others to find out as much as they can about our local schools, and any other schools across the state, for that matter.
The information is all public, but this tool puts it all in one place and makes it accessible at the click of a computer mouse.
Just as impressive is the department's tracking of information about the state's child care centers. That is all available at the same website.
And there are videos that explain the state's grading systems for schools, districts and child care centers.
Altogether, this represents a huge step forward in the public's ability to learn about some of the most important institutions in our communities.
And for the state, this is an effective way to get a lot of information in one place for the people who can use it.
Gone are the days when the only indicator of success parents got was the report cards sent home with their children.
Now, so much information about their schools and how they stack up against others around the state is available that we really have no excuse if we are uninformed about them.
Changes coming to the grading system should make the state's assessments of schools a bit more transparent, though there is still a long way to go in implementing a fair and accurate system that will allow observers to compare our schools against schools in other states.
The important thing to remember, though, is that the process is moving along in the right direction, with more information becoming available.
Now, it's up to the public to put that information to use.