Senate Bill 87 – Golden Opportunity or Fool’s Gold?

May 8, 2008

In its original form, SB 87 was a great thing. Doing away with a “lie” is always a good thing. The Stelly Bill was never about honest taxation and the good Senator “Buddy” Shaw knew it when he proposed Senate Bill 87 to do away with it.

Enter the “Good Old Boys”.

How could the “tax and spend” Democrats allow themselves to be exposed as the disingenuous social engineers they are by having one of their tax gems repealed?

The fight was on.

In an obviously disingenuous maneuver, Sen. Nick Gautreaux, D-Abbeville, crafted an amendment to SB 87, a so-called “poison pill” that had two main purposes. The amendment was designed to save the ill-conceived Stelly Tax and to make Governor Bobby Jindal look bad no matter what decision he made about it. Whether the Democrats are successful in their underhanded tactics is yet to be seen, and there is no shortage of advice for the Governor in how to deal with his obvious political enemies.

The Democrat amendment to SB87 does away with the state income tax, which is hardly a fixture on the liberal agenda. On the surface, it certainly sounds great (to conservatives) to abolish the state income tax (or any income tax) and makes the Democrats look like heroes to the working class taxpayers. However, the amendment is actually fiscally irresponsible in that it makes no plans for dealing with the reduction in state revenue caused by the phasing out of the state income tax.

The Democrats were well aware of their purposeful omission of “paying for the tax cut”, as it was the key to their devious plan. How could any responsible Governor sign a bill into law that was so negligent by omitting the necessary entries to deal with such an obvious revenue shortfall? The Democrat thinking is that the Governor will be forced to veto the entire bill, thus saving the Stelly Tax and promoting the “Dimocrat’s” socialist agenda.

By making it impossible for the Governor to sign the bill abolishing the Stelly Tax, the Democrats are victorious heroes to their liberal constituents, and as an extra bonus, the Democrats would effectively make the Governor look bad to his conservative constituents, who sometimes overlook how devious the Democrats truly are. Conservatives have long wanted to repeal the Stelly Tax from when it was first proved to be the Democrat lie it is, but with the seemingly golden opportunity to phase out the debilitating income tax, conservatives maybe getting blinded by the shine of “fool’s gold”.

By vetoing the bill, the mentioned scenario takes place, but by signing the bill into law without simultaneously making the needed spending cuts necessary to make the phase out of the income tax truly successful, the Democrats will be setting up the Governor and the Republicans in the Legislature to bear the responsibility for future tax INCREASES to makeup for that certain revenue shortfall.

It is folly to believe the Democrats are going to “play fair” in any scenario. Hoping and praying the Democrats will allow spending cuts in any of their social programs for the sake of making the phase out of the income tax a success is better described as “naïve wishful thinking”. Perhaps Senator Shaw should have amended his own bill to include the necessary cuts needed to allow the income tax to be phased out instead of allowing the Democrats to put our new Governor in the difficult position he is in now, and perhaps some conservatives calling for the Governor to “swallow” that poison pill, should consider how reckless their maneuver could turnout.

Valve replacement trial – without open-heart surgery; Medtronic’s replacement aortic valve is showing promise. Want proof? Ask 94-year-old Ed Papelian.(BUSINESS)

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) December 24, 2011 Byline: JAMES WALSH; STAFF WRITER Nothing seemed to slow Ed Papelian down during the past 94 years.

The former World War II bomber pilot worked out at 5 a.m. every day. He regularly played table tennis with his buddies and even took up water volleyball a couple of times a week.

But in July, Papelian found climbing just a few stairs left him fatigued and faint. His age wasn’t the problem. Turns out, he was suffering from severe aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the aortic valve that prevents it from properly opening and closing. That causes the heart to weaken. As many as half of those with severe aortic stenosis die within a year.

Papelian needed his aortic valve replaced to live. But at 94, his age made him a poor candidate for valve replacement through open heart surgery.

Then, another treatment option emerged. Medtronic was in the midst of medical trials in the U.S. for a new CoreValve device that replaces a diseased aortic heart valve without open heart surgery.

Now, three months after receiving his new valve, the Novi, Mich., man is feeling stronger. A return to working out and water volleyball is in the works, he said. Last week, Papelian spoke at Medtronic’s annual employee holiday program.

“I am elated that they gave me my life back,” he said.

The success of CoreValve could also prompt elation at Medtronic. The potential market is significant. An estimated 300,000 people worldwide suffer from severe aortic stenosis — 100,000 of them in the U.S. go to web site open heart surgery

The condition typically develops in people from age 50 to 70.

For most, the way to treat the disease is through open-heart valve replacement surgery. But a significant number of severe aortic stenosis patients are at high risk for open-heart surgery, with about one-third of all patients ineligible for such a procedure.

Thomas Gunderson, a senior analyst with Piper Jaffray Co., estimates that it will be a $1 billion market in the U.S. alone.

Medtronic, however, will not be the first to tap that market in the U.S. Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine, Cal., already has been approved by the FDA for sale in this country. Gunderson said Medtronic and Edwards have about a 50-50 split of the market in Europe, where CoreValve has been available since August. He estimated that Edwards Lifesciences will make $150 million to $200 million on its valve in its first year of U.S. sales. Little Canada-based St. Jude Medical Inc. is also working on a transcatheter valve.

“So it’s a big deal,” Gunderson said.

Surgeons insert the replacement valve through a small opening in the femoral artery, winding their way through arteries up to the aorta. Medtronic’s valve is made from pig cardiac tissue and is mounted on a self-expanding frame. Once in place, it takes over for the diseased aortic valve and helps oxygen-rich blood flow into the aorta and circulate throughout the body.

Medtronic’s U.S. clinical trial has been underway for more than a year and will involve nearly 1,400 patients at approximately 40 hospitals by next summer, according to Medtronic. Patients considered a high risk for open heart surgery will be randomly selected for CoreValve; other high risk patients will have their aortic valve replaced through open heart surgery.

Awaiting FDA approval Patients deemed extreme risk will automatically get the CoreValve treatment. All patients’ progress will be followed for a year after surgery. A Medtronic spokeswoman said the company anticipates FDA approval in 2014. Doctors have implanted the Medtronic device in more than 20,000 people living in more 50 countries. go to website open heart surgery

Until July, Papelian showed no signs of being anything less than hale and hearty. He flew a B-26 Marauder on 25 bombing missions over Italy during the war. He later served 28 years in the Air Force Reserves before retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He owned a dry cleaning plant. He sang in the church choir for 75 years and, his children say, he’s a pretty good dancer.

After he started feeling fatigued last summer, the doctor at his senior living community sent him to the emergency room. He needed oxygen 24 hours a day. His condition plunged.

Untreated, Papelian said, he had only a few months to live. His daughter and son-in-law learned about CoreValve, and Papelian landed in the U.S. pivotal trial in Grand Rapids, Mich., with Dr. John C. Heiser.

Papelian had the surgery Sept. 15 and began feeling better immediately. Medtronic called and asked him to speak at their holiday party. His children joked that it didn’t take their dad long to agree. On Dec. 16, he stood before 1,200 people at Medtronic headquarters and, in a strong voice, spoke of “my journey for renewal.” At the end, he declared that “every day, I’m regaining my full strength.” He’s rejoined “the Romeos” — a group of guys who regularly meet for lunch. A return to dancing, he said, isn’t far behind.

James Walsh – 612-673-7428


6 comments
Olcoot
Olcoot

Actually, I don't think my suggestion "fails to address" Democrat duplicity at all. It just takes a different approach than yours in that it allows the Gov to simply put fiscal responsibility for their actions on the Democrats who irresponsibly proposed the legislation. It presumes that we (including the Gov) finally throw down the gauntlet and tell the Legislature that they are responsible for the consequences of their actions, and that they will not be allowed to continue blaming others for their choices and attempted manipulations. That would require two or three things, but it is a workable plan. First it would require a Gov who is willing to stand up on his hind legs and fight: I think we have that, for a change. Second it would require that the electorate support him when he is right: we MAY have that. Third, it would require complete transparency from the office of the Gov (again, think we have that) AS WELL AS an aggressive information campaign to inform the electorate. By contrast, the current process being employed does absolutely nothing to reinforce the message to Dems that we've had enough of their arrogance and high-handed manipulations. We continue playing their game. We had a saying in the Corps, back in another century: "You want to play fun and silly games? OK, we'll play. BUT, who said YOU get to make up the rules?" Maybe a more understandable way of making the point is "Never let your enemy determine the Rules of Engagement."

4unionparish
4unionparish

Oh, Huey, I am glad to hear that Shaw woke up and is willing to compromise with the Governor. That is something we should never expect the Democrats to do. As soon as Shaw agreed to do the job he should have done in the first place, the Governor was onboard. Cutting taxes without making allowances in the budget is exactly the same as spending money you do not have and both are IRRESPONSIBLE. Considering the Dim's amendment, this would make those Dims voting for that amendment many times more IRRESPONSIBLE. Thankfully, we have a Governor (now) that knows that.

4unionparish
4unionparish

Is that an accusation you can backup with facts or just opinion? Surely you wouldn't consider Gautreaux , McPherson, Alario, and Thompson as "political allies" would you? I know the Governor told Buddy Shaw to put in the needed cuts in spending to cover the repeal of Stelly and he would likely support the bill. Of course, it is only logical that the Governor would want to see what cuts were going to be offered up before giving his final blessing. This is by definition FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE. Shaw failed to do that. This made it a bad bill from the start and doesn't speak well of Mr.Shaw, either. Why didn't Shaw amend the bill? I don't know the man, but arrogance and thoughtlessness seems like two reasonable options, but I do tend to be a little harsh. If neither of these options is accurate I hope Mr. Shaw will forgive me. However, since he was so cavalier with the Governor's reputation, I am sure he will understand my lack of patience with him.

Huey Long
Huey Long

4unionparish- what do you think of the fact that it was Bobby Jindal that tried to kill HB87?

4unionparish
4unionparish

Olcoot, Thanks for your comment, but like too much conservative “advice”, your suggestion fails to address the consistent history of a group that cannot be trusted to do what is “right” – Louisiana Democrats. Your plan is no less a setup that could hurt Governor Jindal and its success depends solely on the Democrats doing what YOU think they should do. Have you ever experienced that before? Do you really think the Democrats are incapable of creating havoc and blaming it on the Governor? I believe the Democrats in the Senate are capable to the worst tactics imaginable and totally disingenuous enough to blame everyone else for any problems it may cause. The most effective and MOST RESPONSIBLE way to put the “monkey” back where it belongs is to never allow it to reach the Governor’s desk in its present form. I simply cannot emphasize strongly enough that it is totally naïve to expect ANYTHING from the Democrats that would be positive for the Governor. Can you supply just one occasion when the Democrat Party has felt obliged to help a Republican Governor AFTER he has compromised with them first? I cannot. What should happen (and will) is that the amendment will be stripped from the bill in the House and sent back to the Senate for reconsideration. What should happen (and likely will) is Senator Shaw will pull the bill and it will die there. Unfortunately, too many conservatives will likely begin whining that the Stelly Tax is still in place and fail to blame those who actually killed the bill; the Democrats who never wanted the Stelly Tax eliminated in the first place. Just as likely, these same conservatives will fail to understand that the Governor is absolutely correct in demanding spending cuts WITH revenue cuts because it is the responsible way to handle such critical budgetary issues, and, though the Governor is too nice to admit it publicly, the Democrats simply cannot be trusted. The Stelly Tax should be repealed; it was a lie, but to get the job done will require Senate Republicans making a responsible effort, working with Governor Jindal, and never taking ANYTHING for granted when it comes to their Democrat colleagues. To do anything less is disloyal to the Governor and a disservice to the residents of Louisiana.

Olcoot
Olcoot

I think you've created a false dilemma in your article. You state that the Governor has only two choices: reject the bill as it currently stands, or take responsibility for supposed tax increases to offset a presumed budget shortfall. There's actually at least one other option, which would put the monkey right back where it belongs, on the legislative back. If the bill passes, the Gov can sign the bill ("After all, this is what the legislature wants!") with the clear understanding that he will NOT sign a budget bill that does not reduce spending in the same amount. That way he is approving a bill the legislature sends him for tax cuts, but rejecting their attempt to get by without reducing spendiing: both positive things for him. If he makes his position clear AND public, up front, then the ball is back in the legislative court, where it should be. He (and WE) can then hold their feet to the fire to do what they're supposed to be doing anyway.

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