Confidence in state budgeting lacking Monday, Nov 3 2014 

hear no evil see no evil speak no evil

Lege oversight

Friday, we learned that one-third into the current fiscal year, the state is overspending the Medicaid budget by $170 Million. ( See story here.)

In this case, DHH says it will find the extra money from “sources it has relied on in the past to cover increased spending….” If that is the case, why wasn’t it budgeted in the first place?

Just a few weeks ago, Commish of Administration Kristy Nichols suddenly “found” $300 Million to ward off a deficit from the previous fiscal year. We still don’t know if the money is real or merely an accounting trick.

This on-going cycle of sudden shortfalls followed by miraculous “found money” doesn’t instill much confidence in those to whom we entrust our hard-earned tax dollars. That includes not only Team Jindal, but the lege which has failed to exercise its oversight responsibility.

We would never put up with our personal bank’s inability to inform us on a daily basis whether we have a balance or deficit in our checking account. We should accept no less from our public officials.

Tell your leges to start doing their job and get us some answers! It’s OUR money!

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill
 

BESE member’s learning experience Thursday, Oct 30 2014 

lottie-beebe

Dr. Lottie Beebe

In today’s Baton Rouge newspaper BESE member Dr. Lottie Beebe recounts her failures to get information and Public Records from BESE and the La. Department of Education of which she is charged with overseeing. See her report here.

While I don’t wish such frustration on any citizen of Louisiana, it is instructive in that it is not merely us mullets who are denied access to our government.

Kudos to Beebe for her efforts to expose the lack of transparency at LDOE and the complicity of her BESE colleagues in the cover-up.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill
 

Leges don’t want power Tuesday, Oct 14 2014 

Hear No Evil See No Evil Speak No Evil

Lege oversight committee

For years we’ve heard leges complain about the governor of Louisiana having too much power. The leges claim that our constitution is wherein the problem lies and that we must have a constitutional convention to re-balance the power.

Each time that I’ve heard the complaint, I’ve asked the lege who made it what specific power is it that our governor has that governors in the other states don’t have. All that I learned is that our leges don’t know what’s in the state constitution and don’t understand the lege process.

I’m beginning to believe (as some speculate) that the leges don’t want power, because with power comes responsibility.  As things are , when problems arise, it’s easier for the leges to tell their constituents that it’s all the governor’s fault.

Lege power

During the recent House Appropriations Committee hearing on the Office of Group Benefits (“OGB”) I saw the leges’ ignorance of the lege process once again. Either they were playing dumb or were ignorant of the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”).

The APA is the process whereby the leges exercise oversight over most Executive Branch agencies in keeping with the constitutional mandated (Article II, LA. Const.) of “separation of powers.”

The APA was passed to make sure that agency rule-making did not supersede the bounds or intent of laws passed by the lege. If this process was not in place or is ignored the law-making function is, in effect, delegated to bureaucrats under the control of the governor.

It appears the APA process has been intentionally thwarted by the leadership of the House and Senate. Required oversight committee hearings are simply not held to review bureaucratic rules, thus allowing them to go into effect by default.

Lege branch irrelevant

During the Jindal Administration the lege has become less and less relevant. In case of the OGB the changes to the benefits weren’t even submitted, as required by the APA, to the lege leadership for consideration.

During the debate on term limits for the leges it was argued that if enacted the state would be run by the bureaucrats.  That is exactly what has happened, but not directly because of term limits, but because of their lack of institutional knowledge the leges have empowered the bureaucrats by benign neglect.

Buck stops here

To fix the problems with OGB, assuming the leges are willing to accept the responsibility, the ball in their court.   All the leges have to do is call a meeting of House Appropriations Committee (or Senate Finance Committee) to reject the changes proposed by OGB.

For those concerned about your OGB benefits and premiums you have the power.  Bobby Jindal is a “lame duck” and is off running for president.  The bureaucrats don’t have to run for reelection, the leges do.  Either insist the leges exercise the power they have or replace them in 2015.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill
 

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