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Story Archives: Jindal's popularity will plummet, too
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|Jindal's popularity will plummet, too|
Though he remains widely popular today, Gov. Bobby Jindal can expect his fortunes, or approval rating in any poll, to take a turn for the worse in 2009.
That most likely will be the case since Jindal must deal with budgetary problems in Louisiana in light of a decline in tax revenues. Tax revenues have been on the decline as of late thanks to a drop in oil prices while a beleaguered national economy delivered hard times to Louisiana, too.
It's not a rosy picture.
While the state is not as dependent as it once was on severance taxes collected from the oil patch, Louisiana still relies on a robust oil and gas industry to help pay for scores of social programs and the like, which residents demand from their state government. It's a tall order to fill, or meet.
And meet he must or Jindal will encounter a backlash among the people, who were spoiled by Jindal's performance on the job in his first year in office, though the jury is still out on whether Jindal's first year as governor was a successful as we've been told.
The people also seem to believe that Jindal, the youngest governor in America, can wave a magic wand and make life grand down on the bayou. That's easier said than done, especially when plummeting oil prices helped create an anticipated $2 billion budget deficit heading into the 2009-10 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Bluntly put, Jindal can either lead the charge in raising taxes to pay for those much-desired state services, or he can govern like a true conservative and cut state spending. It's that simple.
Let's hope he cuts because raising taxes in the midst of a recession is about as foolish as electing a one-term U.S. senator from Illinois the president of the United States. It's not wise.
Yet, Jindal's life will be made worse by a Legislature that's still smarting over the governor hanging them out to dry last summer in that legislative pay raise flap. It defined the 2008 Regular Session.
Whether they like it or not, state lawmakers, for the most part, who participated in the '08 Regular Session will forever be known as a greedy lot. That's their mark because Jindal backtracked on his support for a legislative pay raise and vetoed the bill that authorized it once he discovered how angry the people were over the idea of state lawmakers approving a pay hike for themselves at a time when gasoline prices were soaring toward $4 per gallon.
Timing is everything in governing and politics. Paybacks are hell, too.
And payback could be on the minds of some lawmakers who may be thinking about leveling the playing field, so to speak, with Jindal. The opportunity for lawmakers to act on that front will rear its head because Jindal will be consumed with trying to convince the Legislature to pass a budget that's balanced and protects the interests, or expenditures, that are near and dear to the heart of the administration.
In the end, or at the end of 2009, though, it will be Jindal who will be blamed for signing off on budget cuts (if it happens), which most definitely will affect every man, woman and child in Louisiana. He will be blamed, but he will have acted responsibly and with the best interests of the state in mind.