Walt Bennetti of clickjefferson.com joined 'Mornings With Ken and Bernie' today and discussed topics that included:

  • Tourism dollars being used to fund concerts
  • Dueling flood insurance bills in Congress
  • Legislators take different views on NSA spying

Bennetti said he was surprised when he discovered that tax-payer dollars earmarked for tourism development were being diverted to promote concerts in Louisiana.  According to Bennetti,

Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne is in charge of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and I didn't even know we had a Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism...In the past it was all lumped under the Department of Tourism.  Lt. Governor Dardenne is asking Governor Jindal to veto a line in the appropriations bill that gives $200,000 next year to the Bayou Country Superfest, the big country concert they have every year in Baton Rouge.  What's interesting about this is every year Lt. Governor Dardenne gives them $100,000.  But this year some Baton Rouge legislator and Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden wanted more money for some reason and got the appropriation doubled and Lt. Governor Dardenne wants that reduced to $100,000.

Doing a little more research Bennetti discovered,

The Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, which by the way is cutting the budget every year for parks, museums and cultural events.  But we're giving $942,000 and change to the Essence Fest.  That's amazing.  We're giving them almost a million dollars next year...and we're giving $300,000 to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport.  What's ironic is that they do this under the guise of tourism.  I don't know how many people sit around the dinner table and say 'you know kids we can either go to Disney World this year or we can go to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport'.

Bennetti went on to say,

We're fighting for every education dollar we can get for our kids.  We just had to pass a special law in the budget to get teachers a raise but we're giving $900,000 to Essence Fest, $200,000 to Bayou Superfest and $300,000 to the Independence Bowl.  What are we doing?

Bennetti noted that both Senator Mary Landrieu and Congressman Bill Cassidy introduced flood insurance bills in their respective Chambers,

Senator Landrieu's bill didn't get any traction and failed so Senator David Vitter wrote to Landrieu urging her to support Cassidy's bill which is never going to happen.  It was a waste of paper and an email.

In discussing the NSA scandal Bennetti noted that there was a wide difference of opinion among the Louisiana Congressional Delegation with some feeling like the program was working and others feeling like this was a big overreach by government.  You can hear more on all the topics discussed by listening to the interview:

To read more from Walt Bennetti be sure to visit clickjefferson.com.