BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Covington Republican John Schroder will soon take over the treasurer's office after a Saturday victory at the polls. Political analyst Jim Engster says expect him to use the new platform to be a vocal "opponent of the governor."
A state representative, Schroder was an outspoken critic of state spending. "I did not always take the most popular positions on some of the tough fiscal decisions that challenged the legislature," he said, speaking before a crowd of supporters at his Saturday night election watch party.
He played on that theme in campaign ads, claiming he would say "no" to bigger government, wasteful spending, and raising taxes.
While the treasurer does not get a vote on taxes or what the budget looks like, the office does come with a big megaphone – one that Engster says Schroder is sure to use.
"John Schroder is going to be picking up the mantle of John Kennedy, and there's no doubt he's going to be an opponent of the governor," Engster said. During his more than a decade as treasurer, Kennedy transformed the office into a watchdog post, calling out state spending and going after governors of both parties.
Schroder and Gov. John Bel Edwards could clash sooner rather than later. The state is currently staring down a $1 billion fiscal cliff that could mean steep cuts to state agencies. The governor wants to fill in the shortfall by replacing old, temporary taxes with new taxes.
"The state of Louisiana doesn't need don't need net new revenue next fiscal year. But I am telling you we need to replace revenue that we have that is falling off the books," Edwards said recently, speaking before the group Together Louisiana.
It is on the topic of taxes that the two are bound to disagree, leaving the governor – the only statewide elected Democrat – again on an island by himself.
"It looks like [Schroder is] going to be a critic of anything the governor does as far as the governor's attempt to balance the budget through revenue enhancements – taxes," Engster said.