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Story Archives: Finally some news worth hearing
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|Finally some news worth hearing|
Speaking at the Monroe Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet Monday night, Gov. Bobby Jindal delivered what could be described as the most significant news we've heard in a spell.
At the very least, it was the most significant news we've heard since all of the talk ensued over the $2-billion budget shortfall the state faces for the 2009-10 fiscal year.
The significant news, of course, was Jindal's announcement that raising taxes to prop up government spending, or to balance the new fiscal year budget, was out of the question. Jindal's position on the tax front was welcome, too, in light of an economic slowdown, which has gripped the nation for the past several months. Simply put, raising taxes in the midst of a recession is foolish. Jindal obviously understands it, and he's obviously sticking to one of the pledges he made back in the day when he was simply candidate for governor Jindal.
"Now more than ever it's important for Louisiana families to keep more money in their pockets," Jindal said.
While Jindal made it clear how he feels about a tax increase at this time, we have to assume Jindal is committed to significantly cutting spending from his proposed budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year. Remember, a governor simply proposes a budget for the Legislature to consider. It's the Legislature's responsibility to approve a budget, or a spending plan for the state. Let's remember as well that a governor can veto any budget the Legislature approves, and he possesses the all-powerful line-item veto pen, or the authority to veto any specific item from a budget.
In any event, Jindal either has plans to dramatically scale back state spending in the new fiscal year or he's going to do some cutting while banking on using some of the money the state holds in its so-called "Rainy Day" fund. As you probably recall, the "Rainy Day" fund was set up by the Legislature several years ago to aid the state in tough economic times.
Either way, spending on government programs, regardless if the programs are vital to the day-to-day operation of state government, will be cut. And cuts in state spending, whether their extensive or minor, will prompt a response from people who are affected by them.
That's where the Legislature will come into play, or balks at cuts in state spending Jindal proposes. Legislators will balk, of course, when enough folks on the home front give them an earful over cuts in state spending. As we all know, elected officials get restless when their constituents aren't happy.
At some point in the budgetary process later this year we will be afforded an opportunity to witness one or two scenarios. One would entail Jindal holding the line on his proposed budget for the new fiscal year, while a second scenario would entail the Legislature prevailing upon the governor to rethink his position, or positions.
Let's hope Jindal holds the line, or tells the Legislature "no" when lawmakers likely attempt to prop up state spending, though not enough money will be available to pay for it.
In the meantime, the budget cuts Jindal announced a few weeks ago to shore up a $341 million deficit in the current fiscal year were, as we've learned as of late, more about perception than reality. Bluntly put, the governor's office made a big to-do about the cuts Jindal unveiled at a news conference at the capitol in Baton Rouge. The problem is the Legislature must sign off on about one-half of the budget cuts Jindal announced. To our knowledge, lawmakers haven't acted in that regard.
Still, the no new taxes news Jindal delivered to a sizeable crowd at the Monroe Civic Center Monday night wasn't just significant. It was welcome.
It was welcome, indeed.