Do Jindal’s absences make any difference? Tuesday, Feb 24 2015
Is he really missed?
Reporter Mark Ballard reports that Bobby Jindal was absent from Louisiana for almost half of 2014. ( Story here.) Other than the extra cost to taxpayers for his security details, I’m not sure being absent from the state is necessarily a bad thing.
The time Jindal is in Louisiana is spent traveling around the state doing photo-ops and handing out checks, many of which are from the Federal government. Jindal cut ribbons for new businesses underwritten by taxpayer funds that may or may not actually open. He does the same for existing businesses that may or may not expand and would have done so even without the taxpayers’ dollars. Jindal practices the opposite of Free Enterprise by favoring some businesses over their in-state competitors.
Jindal’s first initiative upon assuming office as governor in 2008 was passing the “Gold Standards of Ethic.” The result was to bifurcate, increase the standard of proof for conviction and to generally eviscerate ethics enforcement in Louisiana.
Then, Jindal also led an effort to allegedly make state government more transparent. The result was to make the governor’s office the least transparent in the United States.
Next Jindal pushed the leges to increase the constitutionally-imposed state spending limits by $1.1 Billion in order to spend a $1.1 Billion surplus he had inherited from Gov. Kathleen Blanco. That initiative is a singular factor in the state’s structural budget deficit that has now reached at least $1.6 Billion.
Common Core initiative
Jindal supported an overhaul of the members of BESE for one purpose. He wanted BESE to hire his his hand-picked Superintendent of Education, John White. Job one for White was to implement Common Core for Elementary and Secondary education. BESE and White did exactly Jindal told them to do. Then the political winds changed and Jindal flip-flopped. He is now leading a national effort to stop Common Core’s implementation not only in Louisiana, but in the entire nation.
Without lege approval, Jindal “privatized” the state employees’ health insurance program. The result of which was to reduce $500 Million in reserves to below $200 Million. As a result, state employees’ premiums and employers’ (we taxpayers) portion of the premiums have dramatically increased while benefits have dramatically decreased. That trend will continue for the foreseeable future.
Pension reform initiative
Then there was Jindal’s effort to address the crisis in state pension plans. Only one minor piece of legislation in his package passed, but was found by the La. Supreme Court to have been unconstitutionally-passed.
Subsequently, Jindal led a surreptitious, unconstitutional, effort to give an extra $55,000 increase in retirement benefits to State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson. The legislation was shot down by the first court that looked at it and was not even appealed.
Tax reform initiative
Another of Jindal’s initiatives was to “reform” the state tax structure. It consisted of eliminating the Personal Income Tax by increasing the State Sales Tax and shifting the tax burden to businesses. The plan was so poorly thought-out that Jindal was forced to abandon the plan on the first day of the lege session.
Are we better off?
The above are just a sample of the initiatives which occurred when Jindal was in the state and exercising his brand of hands-on management.
As we look forward to the impending budget disaster in our state, I cannot help but look back and wonder if Jindal had been less involved whether the citizens of Louisiana wouldn’t be better off.
Most people that I talk to can’t wait until Bobby’s no longer governor.
What do you think?
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