Mar 062016

by Ann Porter
The centerpiece of Governor John Bel Edwards’s plan to fix the $900 million dollar budget deficit was a “clean penny” increase in the state sales tax. I wasn’t a fan. Sales taxes are regressive and hit poor people harder. Louisiana already has one of the highest sales tax burdens in the country when local and state taxes are combined. But we are in a desperate situation. The Governor explained that he dislikes the option also, but revenue is needed immediately to fix the deficit. Revenue from an increase in income tax rates (which would be preferred) won’t be realized soon enough. An extra penny in state sales tax, combined with some budget cuts and elimination of some tax credits and exemptions, could bring the situation under control.

Now, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) is recommending an ADDITIONAL penny sales tax on top of the one that’s already passed. LABI recommends that this function as a stopgap measure that steps down over time, giving the legislature time to fix the structural problems with our tax code. Conveniently, this would negate the need for business to assume any share of the burden of fixing the problem their cronies and lackies got us into in the first place. Yeah, I’m bitter.

Jan Moller of the Louisiana Budget Project calls this additional penny “a bridge too far.” Moller writes, “Times of crisis call for shared sacrifice. But the deal being offered by big business interests to solve Louisiana’s historic budget shortfall would violate that basic principle by putting too much of the burden on working families that can least absorb a tax increase.”


We in St. Tammany Parish are in an interesting position in that only two members of our delegation, Paul Hollis and John Schroder, voted for the FIRST penny. Let’s lend our voices to the effort to stop this bailout of big business on the backs of working people. Call your representative TODAY and ask him to vote AGAINST a tax increase. How easy should that be, right?

Representative Scott Simon – District 74 – 985.893.6246
Representative Kevin Pearson – District 76 – 985.646.6487
Representative John Schroder – District 77 – 985.893.6262
Representative Reid Falconer – District 89 – 985.792.5185
Representative Gregory Cromer – District 90 – 985.645.3592
Representative Paul Hollis – District 104 – 985.871.4680

 Posted by at 4:07 pm
Oct 072014

Get an early start on BlueDat Fest at the St. Tammany Parish Democratic Executive Committee’s  Breakfast Fundraiser featuring the dynamic Russel Honore of the Green Army. The event will be held at the Abita Quail Farm from 9-11 a.m. and proceeds will benefit the St. Tammany DPEC’s scholarship program for Leadership St. Tammany/Northshore. Ticket prices are $40 and can be purchased online at

General Honore

 Posted by at 9:02 pm
Jan 292014

The New Jim Crow Task Force, based at the Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church, is working to reduce the rate of incarceration of Louisiana’s citizens, particularly non-violent offenders.  Northshore Democratic Women’s Club member Bonnie Schmidt is co-facilitator of the group. The task force has been actively meeting and studying the issues behind mass incarceration for over a year. As we reported in this week’s Club newsletter, now they are taking action.

  • Bonnie and others attended a House Committee Informational meeting on January 21 in Baton Rouge on the legalization of marijuana for medical use.  Anita Dugat-Greene wrote a full report on the Task Force’s blog, Equal Justice Louisiana.
  • On Thursday, January 23, the ACLU and the Pelican Institute presented Safe and Fair Louisiana: A Panel Discussion on Criminal Justice Reform. To a crowd of over 200 people at the Abita Springs Town Hall, panelists Marjorie Esman of the ACLU, Kevin Kane of the Pelican Institute, and Judge Ricky Wicker of the Louisiana Sentencing Commission discussed the challenges of reform and how citizens can move the discussion forward.  See Anita’s full report for all the details of this important event.

Congratulations to Bonnie and to Sandra Slifer of the St. Tammany League of Women Voters, who worked together to do such a great job of putting the Abita Springs panel discussion together.

The next meeting of the New Jim Crow Task Force will be on Sunday, February 23. Details will be on our calendar as the event approaches.

 Posted by at 8:00 am
Jan 032012

By Liz Scott Monaghan

The Northshore Democratic Women’s Club presented a check for $2000 to the Mount Olive African Methodist Episcopal Church Feeding Ministry on Saturday Dec.10.

It was one of the highlights of an unusual event, a launching of the club’s “Cookbook for the Hungry,” which was created solely to benefit the hungry.

Women's club members and guests sample Sweet Potato Bread at launch party for the Club's "Cookbook for the Hungry"

The club has partnered with Mount Olive, and the ministry itself has sold 120 books and  already used those  profits to pay fuel and other bills, feeding ministry director Natasha Woods said.

One of the cookbook’s authors, Ann Porter of Slidell, explained that after the women’s club sponsored  a forum on hunger in St. Tammany Parish in January, club members brainstormed about they could do to help alleviate the problem. The result was the cookbook.

She noted that this isn’t an ordinary community cookbook. It was designed by professional book designer Tina Henderson of Lacombe; edited by humor writer Liz Scott Monaghan of Folsom, and includes good-natured political  pot shots as well as recipes from the club’s skilled cooks.  It also includes directions on planting a vegetable garden, filleting a fish, and a few tips on healthful eating.

The  book launch party,  titled “Hunger Bites” featured tasting of 18 recipes from the book, including several seafood dishes, salads, desserts  and a few  items with quirky names  such as “Undocumented Chili Dip,” “Black Bean and Corn Flip-Flop,”  “Heckuvajob Brownies,”  “Robocall Rice Salad,” and “Wing-Nut Oatmeal Cookies.”

The event’s organizers were Shannon Cockayne of Bush and Alex Wesley-Smith of Lacombe.

Cookbook Contributers and Event Organizers, First row, from left, Shannon Cockayne, Tina Henderson, Linda Hawkins, Dian McIlwain, Alex Wesley-Smith. Second row, from left; Janice Roussel, Joy Roussel, Susan Green, Gail Ledet, Ella Selmon, Ann Porter. Third row: Ann Kirkpatrick, Liz Scott Monaghan, and Nina Helfert.

Mount Olive Feeding Ministry, founded in 1986, currently serves and delivers 350 meals each day, six days per week, a total of nearly 90,000 meals a year. To purchase cookbooks, or to donate funds, contact the Mount Olive Feeding Ministry at 985.641.6026, or order them through or

 Posted by at 4:24 pm