Trade, energy and the IRS
U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Louisiana, was in Crowley on Thursday to address the Kiwanis Club’s weekly luncheon. He began by mentioning how he had left Washington, D.C., just prior to the city being shut down by the winter storms that have made headlines throughout the past week.
“Like John F. Kennedy once said, it’s a city of northern charm and southern efficiency,” he stated.
Boustany began by discussing the recently passed Farm Bill.
“It took us a year longer than it should have and it’s a five-year bill,” said Boustany. “With the rice industry being such a big part of Acadia Parish it’s good to have that certainty in place.”
He also mentioned a flood insurance bill that will be taken up when the nation’s legislators return to work.
“I have to say we have some allies up in the northeast who, after Hurricane Sandy, helped us to move this forward to where it got the attention of the House leadership,” said Boustany.
The congressman mentioned how Louisiana is managing to prosper in some areas.
“You look around the country and hear all this bad news but in Louisiana we’re relatively lucky,” he stated. “Our unemployment is low and we have a record amount of investments out there.”
Boustany mentioned how the energy sector in the country is very strong.
“We are at the beginning of a energy renaissance,” he said. “We are on the verge of seeing North America being completely energy self-sufficient.”
Boustany stated that Louisiana is among the nation’s leaders in exports to other countries.
“The state now ranks fourth in the entire country in exports to foreign countries,” he said. “We had a record year ... over $63 billion in exports.
“When our energy sector is doing well it has a positive effect on real estate and other sectors of our economy,” Boustany continued. “This has been key in helping to keep us out of the recession.
“Energy and trade are the two main reasons we’ve kept out of it.”
Boustany discussed the IRS as he finished with his address.
“As many of you may know, we’ve been investigating the IRS recently,” he said. “I began that investigation when some abuses were discovered.
“We are going to make sure that no individuals are ever targeted again because of personal issues or political affiliations.”
Boustany mentioned how he and other members of Congress are working to reword the tax code, which he described as being “extremely complex.”
“We need to make it less difficult for people to understand,” he said. “I’ve heard it described as being ‘like two Bibles but without the good news’.”
Following his address, Boustany fielded questions from those in attendance.
Scott Soileau asked about Boustany’s last election against Jeff Landry.
“I got to a point where I was so disgusted with the negative campaigning by both of you that I didn’t even vote,” he said. “Nobody ever said what they were going to do good for us, it was all this negative campaigning.”
“Get ready for it again because you are going to have a senate election and a governor’s election and they’re going to be ugly,” responded Boustany.
“I had a man that was saying these things about me ... I mean, does anybody really believe that I supported Obamacare,” he said. “My wife and I sat down and we wrote our final four commercials and put those out ourselves. We got back to what we were discussing in the beginning. I hate negative races. That guy was determined to make it that way.”
“It’s that kind of race that keeps good people from running for office,” added Bruce Conque, a Lafayette resident who attended the meeting.
Boustany was also asked what he thought about Senator Mary Landrieu’s influence on the energy sector.
“She is about to take over the Senate Energy Committee and it’s been awhile since someone from Louisiana was in that position,” said Boustany. “Mary and I disagree on a lot of issues but her views on energy are actually very strong.“