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Property Taxes, New Healthcare Agenda, Charity Hospital and Legislative Independence PDF Print E-mail
Friday, November 14 2008 - 4:35 pm

To My Friends:


Property taxes are continuing to damage our home and business owners by hitting them hard in the pocketbook at a time when everyone in concerned about the viability of our economy.  Our delegation has been contacting individual taxing bodies and asking them to forgo a tax roll-up.  Many of these bodies are ignoring the pleas of the legislative and community leaders and rolling forward anyway.  This irresponsible action must be corrected in the next legislative session.  It is worth noting that Kevin Davis has trimmed his budget and is not planning on increasing the tax burden on our citizens.  Tell him thanks.

 

The governor is rolling out his new healthcare agenda.  He has spent time meeting with Legislators in small groups to explain the plan and ask for support.  I think reviews are mixed throughout the industry and I doubt that anyone truly has the details necessary to fully evaluate the plan.  There is also a timing issue of dealing with the Bush administration or waiting and dealing with President-Elect Obama.  There are two other issues that the governor is having to deal with:

    1.  Replacing Charity Hospital.  The deal cannot be settled until FEMA agrees to pay a fair settlement for the existing building.  The State says we have been damaged to the tune of $470 million and FEMA is offering $23 million. Talk about a big difference!!

    2. The State owes the Federal Government $771 million.  Much of the owed money is for overpayments in the Medicaid system.  These dollars have accumulated over the years but the Jindal Administration is saddled with having to pay for the past sins of other administrations.

 

I am continuing to push for legislative independence.  I am convinced that the legislature must have its own agenda to move the state forward.  Please do not interpret this as an anti-Jindal sentiment.  Governor Jindal is a friend of mine, and I think he has the opportunity to be a great Governor.  The agendas for the Governor and the Legislature do not have to be in conflict with each other.  I am hopeful that the Senate will be having a "summit" coming up early next year.  I am meeting with Speaker Tucker this Monday to discuss how we might all work together for the betterment of this state.

 

Our delegation is hosting a series of meetings with the various State Secretaries to introduce these men and women to the Northshore.  We have already met with Secretary Alan Levine, DHH, Secretary Tim Barfield, Workforce Commission, and Secretary Steve Moret, Department of Economic Development.  Next week we will be meeting and conducting a bus tour with Secretary Bill Ankner of the DOTD.  We are in the process of scheduling Paul Pastorek, Commissioner of Education and Angele Davis, Commissioner of Administration.

 

These are difficult times for all of us.  If Michelle, my Legislative assistant, or I can help please let us know.

 

 

Jack Donahue

Senator District 11