Editor’s note: A story appearing in Daily Report PM on Wednesday on Elliott Stonecipher’s address to the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge has been removed due to inaccuracies. Daily Report regrets the error.
In a speech Wednesday afternoon to the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge about the 2015 governor’s race, Shreveport demographer Elliott Stonecipher did not advocate for a governor who would raise taxes, as erroneously reported by Daily Report. Rather, Stonecipher explained the dynamics he sees going on in the governor’s race.
“Quoting LSU’s Bob Mann from a piece he wrote last week, I explained the move underway by some Democrats to vote for a moderate Republican,” Stonecipher writes in a blog post about the Rotary speech on the website Forward Now! that was published Wednesday evening. “I pointed out that Democrats in that camp—if not others—are hoping to find a new governor who will raise taxes, which I said is what many believe about Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne.”
Stonecipher says he explained that if such an effort succeeds, “we then begin discussing a new political coalition: a ‘purple coalition’ actively working to block the election of Republicans who are ‘too’ conservative.”
Stonecipher did not imply that he or anyone else would lead such a coalition and he stressed, as he often has in speeches, the fallacy of tax increases.
“As we now and again study likely effects of the current oil price battering, any case for increased revenue is seriously undermined by the most basic statistics of growth in spending without growth in population, including of taxpayers,” Stonecipher writes. “The stage for this debate was set in 1986, year one of our original and catastrophic oil price collapse.”
Total state spending in 1986 was $6.8 billion, which equals $14.5 billion when adjusted for inflation, according to Stonecipher. Last year total state spending was $26.1 billion.
“So over those 28 years, we have increased spending 80%—over and above a 113% inflation adjustment,” Stonecipher writes.
That 80% spending increase occurred while the state’s population has stagnated. Between 1986 and 2014, Louisiana’s population increased only 5.51%, which puts it 49th of 50 states.
“To put that in context, the United States population has increased six times ours during that period and all states in our region have raced past us,” Stonecipher writes.