Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
|Washington could learn from Louisiana|
The proposed budget Gov. Bobby Jindal unveiled late last week contained few surprises but as usual the big government crowd howled and hollered as if the world would come to an end at any moment.
Evidence of the bellyaching surfaced on social media outlets. The "bloggers" wet their britches. The working press joined the chorus as well.
What else is new?
Yet, the $24.7-billion spending plan that Jindal rolled out was a reflection of the governor's attitude toward government in general. That is, it needs to get smaller and it needs to follow the private sector's lead in tightening its belt.
That certainly is no consolation to the thousands of government employees who have lost their jobs since Jindal took office in January 2008. And it certainly isn't something state employees who currently work in public hospitals want to hear since Jindal is moving forward with plans for public hospitals to enter into management agreements with privately operated health care providers. An example of that is in Monroe where St. Francis Medical Center is in negotiations with the state to take over LSU Medical Center-Monroe (E.A. Conway hospital).
Though Jindal's budget does not include any big-time infusions of cash for K-12 public education, our friends and neighbors in the education community should consider themselves lucky. That's because funding for the Minimum Foundation Program (K-12) is projected to rise to its highest level ever, with some $3.46 billion budgeted for public schools. That's noteworthy, though don't expect to see the teachers unions celebrating the increased funding. They would rather complain.
Colleges and universities got a pass on the budget-cutting front, too. Moreover, higher education officials should start sending Jindal a Christmas card again since the governor signaled he wouldn't curtail state appropriations while higher education generates more revenues courtesy of increased tuition. A double whammy if there ever was one.
Though Jindal's proposed budget is some $1 billion less than the spending plan the Legislature approved for the current fiscal year, conservative lawmakers don't like it.
Commonly known as the "Fiscal Hawks," conservatives have a problem with Jindal utilizing one-time revenues to pay for ongoing state expenses. While their efforts are admirable, the Fiscal Hawks need to step it up a notch and put a detailed plan on the table for the state to possibly pursue. It should be a blueprint that does not include the dreaded one-time revenue scenario and it should be reasonable.
Cutting off granny's dialysis isn't reasonable.
But there's a bigger story that's unfolding, one that's far more important than a proposed state budget that hasn't even been entertained by a legislative committee. It's taking place on Capitol Hill where the Congress and the president have squared off over that nasty thing called sequestration.
Hashed out back in 2011 as part of a compromise to raise the government's debt ceiling and at the urging of the Obama administration, cuts in federal spending are scheduled to take hold March 1 since the Congress and the administration can't agree on a budget. We're talking about some $85 billion in cuts, or less than 3 percent of the federal budget.
Like our friends on the Left in Louisiana, the Left elsewhere throughout the country, including Obama, would have us believe the world will come to an end if the Congress doesn't raise taxes again in lieu of slowing down the growth in government spending. That $85-billion cut would be just too devastating, some say.
Stop for one moment and compare the insanity that's unfolding in Washington to the approach to governing that we're witnessing in Louisiana. Think about it.
There is no comparison.