MTP: Jindal’s Pants catch fire & melt Dancin’ Dave’s Disco BallPosted: February 24, 2013
Bobby Jindal got the first word on the budget sequester this morning on MTP. His “reasonable” face to the nation is no where near his record as Louisiana’s worst Governor Ever. He was basically there to state how easy it is to cut government spending and taxes since he’d done such a bang-up job of it in Louisiana. As usual, Jindal was whistling Dixie out of his bony, malignantly narcissistic ass. Let me demonstrate Jindal Budgeting Tricks 101 for those in the national media that will NEVER actually do any research on these hideous and false claims.
Some national press figure should do some homework on what Jindal’s done to the budget in Louisiana and the dishonest, destructive, and unconstitutional ways that he’s found to “balance” it. His budget director more than fessed up last week to the fact that he’s cut state services beyond the point where basic needs met by the state will go unmet. This includes the State Patrol which I would assume even Republicans find a necessary expenditure and service. That’s not preventing him from going on national TV and telling a completely different story about how easy it is to find fat in budgets. This information is succinctly put by Stephan Winham writing for The Louisiana Voice. Mr. Winham should know. He’s the now retired State Budget Director. This year’s Jindal Budget will go beyond hurting the state and selling off state assets to potential corporate donors to his presidential campaign. Please, some one stop him before he kills again.
The governor is happy to tout his refusal to increase state taxes. He is also happy to talk about his successes in reducing the size of government and refusal of additional federal support. He is very direct, if not necessarily consistent, when it comes to holding the line on these things. Although there is no second half to his current plan to eliminate income and franchise taxes, he assures us that, if he actually ever presents a proposal for the other side of the equation, it will be income neutral.
If Nichols’ testimony is to be taken at face value, we can only assume it is not possible to maintain critical services with our current level of recurring revenue. So far, the governor’s approach to reducing state government has been to gradually strangle it through continued submission of unrealistic budgets intended to give the impression everything is okay. The legislators adopt these proposals and congratulate themselves on another successful year.
In reality, everything is not okay. The governor knows it. Ms. Nichols knows it. The legislators interested enough to pay attention know it. As long as projected revenues from reliable, stable sources do not equal projected necessary expenditures, things will NEVER be okay. Governor Jindal has not submitted, nor has the legislature adopted, such a budget during his entire administration. This is proven by the mid-year cuts that are always necessary in adopted yearly budgets and the never-ending projections of deep holes for every future year.
Governor Jindal has been quoted repeatedly in the national press saying we all have to learn to live within our means. If he really believes this, why does he not present budgets that allow the state of Louisiana to do so? I think Ms. Nichols has made the answer quite clear – because we simply cannot live the way we want to within our present means. Presenting a truly balanced budget would result in an outcry from even the staunchest fiscal conservatives who would immediately begin to cry, “Why don’t you cut the fat, not the meat?” They would never accept there isn’t enough fat left to leave the meat alone.
This year, Jindal’s budget relies heavily on selling off LSU’s hospitals. It’s just a matter of time before our Tier 1 school loses its accreditation and the med school’s standing is jeopardized. The hospital in Monroe that serves some of the poorest folks in the state can’t find a buyer and will most likely just be shut down.
The budget cuts about $780.6 million from those programs on the assumption that all but two of the state’s 10 public hospitals will be privatized. So far, only five of those hospitals have announced plans for partnerships with private companies, and none of those proposals has been finalized.
Sen. Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, described the public hospital situation bluntly as he questioned Nichols about the process Friday. “Public hospitals are gone after this budget,” Thompson said. “Don’t exist. Over. Finished.”
Thompson’s concerns focused on E.A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe. No private company has been identified as a possible partner for it, and the budget does not include enough money to operate the center for 12 months. Thompson said the center cares for some of the poorest residents in the state.
That’s not all of the last drops of the safety net programs that are on the table. Plus, every year since Jindal’s taken offce, the budget estimates have been far rosier than occurs, so midbudget year slashes have been necessary. I lived through those at both UNO and at SELU when I was there. Let me just say I’m glad to be teaching at a private institution while living here. It gets harder to justify staying here in Louisiana every year. The kids graduated LSU and bolted. Thanks goodness Jean went to med school and is doing her residency in Nebraska. I love New Orleans and my little Bywater gem, but it’s hard to see much of a future in a state that’s been gutted of assets to appease Republican political donors. As an economist, I know that it’s going to take a good decade to get over the impact from that kind of loss of infrastructure alone. State expenditures now include running the same functions with an added layer of payments for corporate inefficiencies, executive bonuses, and lush corporate profits and dividends. I can’t wait until he starts selling off the state parks next year and all of our arenas and stadiums. I’m assuming that some of the universities will collapse completely too and be auctioned off for some obscene use. That’s about all we have left now. I’m also assuming he’s got his eye on that BP money. He ran through a lot of the Katrina/FEMA money during his first year or so. We simply aren’t using sustainable sources of revenue.
Here’s some more things on the table.
The budget also cuts funding for the Early Steps program, which provides therapy to developmentally disabled children under the age of 3. It proposes to make up the shortfall by charging some participants in the program.
Families that make more than 250 percent of the federal poverty line, or about $57,000 for a family of four, would have to pay for Early Steps on a sliding scale depending on their income, Greenstein said. About half of the 9,400 children who participate in the program each year belong to families that would be affected by the change.
The revised rules, which are expected to save the state about $1.7 million, would require the passage of new legislation before they could go into effect. Officials have not yet worked out exactly how much families will pay, Greenstein said.
The department is also planning to move pregnant women who are now receiving care through Medicaid into a program set up under the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, that provides subsidized health insurance.
Here’s additional cuts in the budgets for the State Police and higher education.
Jindal and other administration officials have noted that if the budget passes, about 26,000 state government jobs will have been shed since the governor took office five years ago.
Among the positions that will not be funded next year are 44 commissioned officers and 39 civilians in the State Police. The last new class of State Police cadets began training in the fall of 2008. When they graduated, there were 1,153 troopers in the force. That number has since fallen to 964 troopers.
State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson said he’s been dealing with the loss of troopers by putting officers who formerly spent much of their time behind a desk, such as investigators, on the road and by hiring retired officers to work on a part-time basis during peak hours. He also credited increased cooperation with sheriffs’ offices and local police departments, as well as an effort to make troopers more of a visible presence on the road, for decreasing traffic fatalities.
The agency is looking for money for new troopers and hopes to be able to graduate a class by the end of 2014, Edmonson said. Nichols said there are no plans for a new cadet class in this year’s budget.
As you can see, a lot of Jindal’s budget cuts come from selling off state assets. These are one time occurrences so they only fill the holes for one year.
The state expects to make $47 million by selling six state properties, including a portion of the campus of Southeast Louisiana Hospital in Mandeville, which was privatized last year; office buildings in Baton Rouge; and a Department of Insurance property. The administration had intended to sell the Department of Insurance property last year and included that same anticipated money in last year’s budget.
Jindal has also diverted funds from other projects. Most people fear that he will divert funds from the BP oil settlement and RESTORE which are supposed to go to coastal restoration. Jindal’s budget revenue tricks are short term while his guts in public services and taxes are permanent. I can’t imagine any one would want to be governor following these steps. This is basically a short term plan to shore up his presidential appeal to right wing, tea party nuts. The state will suffer for decades as it tries to unwind the damage. Already, he’s pulled funds from the Rigs-to-Reef funds.
Yesterday, we learned that during the last two years, Governor Jindal has raided nearly $45 million from the Rigs-to-Reefs fund, which, as its name implies, requires rig operators to contribute a certain portion of their income to create and develop infrastructure projects along the Louisiana coast that could offset some of this destruction. But instead of spending that $45 million on needed coastal restoration projects, Jindal pilfered from the fund in order to offset losses in the State’s General Fund. Thankfully, the Board of the Artificial Reef Fund is now speaking out and making it abundantly clear that, for them, Jindal’s use of their monies is unconstitutional
Robert Mann–the Director of LSU’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs –came up with a better series of questions that Disco Dave should’ve asked our Governor who is evidently relying on the ignorance of the national press to enhance his national prospects.
1. You say you are a fiscal conservative. But how do you square that with your habit of cobbling together your state’s budget every year with non-recurring revenue? Didn’t you campaign against such a practice as reckless and fiscally irresponsible?
2. Do you believe that your Republican gubernatorial colleagues in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and North Dakota are reckless in accepting federal funds to expand their state’s Medicaid programs? What do you know that they don’t?
3. Why have you not yet visited the community of Bayou Corne, Louisiana, where hundreds of your constituents have been homeless for months because of a collapsing salt dome?
4. You have fired or forced out a considerable number of staff members, state legislators, university officials and others who disagreed with your policies. Why are you so uncomfortable with dissent or contrary views?
5. You have a biology degree from Brown. Do you believe in evolution? Do you believe that creationism is science?
6. Your administration has slashed higher education funding by more than $400 million in the past several years. The LSU system president, Williams Jenkins, said recently that those budget cuts had harmed LSU and threatened its status as a tier-one university. When was the last time you visited the LSU campus, or any other university campus, to meet with students to discuss the impact of those cuts on their education?
7. Do you believe that sales taxes are inherently regressive and harmful to the poor? Is exempting only groceries, medicine and utilities enough to shield the poor from the impact of a large state sales tax increase?
8. Why would you oppose a 4-cent renewal of your state’s cigarette tax and then propose more than a dollar increase in the same tax? Why was the 4-cent renewal an unacceptable tax increase, but a dollar increase is not?
10. You campaigned on transparency. Why do you believe the records of your office should be shielded from public view?
Of course, Disco Dave would actually have to rely on research instead of Beltway memes to follow this line of questioning so it’s doubtful that any of Mann’s questions even crossed his mind. Disco Dave and staff are probably doing the Harlem Shake right now since it’s the “in” thing and investigative journalism is so 1973. At least, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was there to challenge some of Jindal’s rationale on the sequester.
Patrick, a frequent surrogate for Obama during the 2012 campaign, reacted yesterday to criticism by fellow “Meet the Press” guest Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, saying the current standoff on Capitol Hill over how to pull the economy out of a looming nosedive “is not of the president’s creation.”
“The president hasn’t campaigned and hasn’t wanted to govern constantly being in conflict with congressional Republicans,” said Patrick. “From the very beginning, it was the leadership of the Republicans … who said their No. 1 agenda was to make this president a one-term president. When he won a second term, their No. 1 agenda is to slow down the recovery of our economy and that needs to be called out. It is a fact.”
But Jindal countered Obama “needs to stand up at the plate if he really thinks this is going to devastate the military, devastate air-traffic control, really devastate meat inspections …
“The reality is the federal budget this year, even after the cuts, will still be larger,” Jindal said. “Families and businesses out there during this national recession have had to tighten their belts, do more with less. You ask any American out there, ‘Is there at least 3 percent of the federal budget that’s being wasted today?’ Let’s not cut the air-traffic controllers first, let’s go cut the waste.
“It is time to stop campaigning,” Jindal said of Obama. “It is time to actually do the job right here in Washington, D.C.”
Disco Dave did at least chide Jindal for having a state that resides on the bottom of every conceivable quality of life measure possible. Jindal insists he’s got things going in the right direction. HA!
Here are some statistics, state to state, Massachusetts to Louisiana, that reflect kinda more services, less taxes, and the different results. Put that up there. You have a bigger population in Massachusetts. You see that there. The high school graduation rate much higher in Massachusetts. The median income about 20,000 higher. The percentage of population without healthcare insurance much higher in Louisiana. The percentage of the population on food stamps much higher in Louisiana. So does this, do results break a little along some of the ideological and philosophical lines about taxes and the amount of government services?
Still, Jindal should take his own advice rather than killing the state he governs with ALEC-inspired policies meant to enrich the richest and enslave the poorest. He’s been in perpetual campaign for president mode since about the second or third year of his first term. His second term is basically nothing but appeasement of Republican primary voters and donors. He continues to divert state funds to religious madrassas and private, charter schools that are not required to follow the same strict state and federal laws regulating the state’s public schools. He has defunded Higher Education to the point that even LSU’s accreditation is in jeopardy and most universities have had cut into vital services and programs. I’ve already inkled just some of the nasty things happening to the state’s health care system and public safety. The minute the FEMA funds and BP Oil spill funds leave the state, we’ll fall so far below Mississippi we may never catch up again. Those are the few stimulatory sources of funding we have. Don’t forget that he’s trying to increase our sales taxes which will undoubtedly kill a lot of retail stores and the tourist industry. Consumer demand of these items are extremely price sensitive so it’s likely to cut in to the revenues of many of Lousiana’s small businesses.
Again, will some one PLEASE out this man for the liar that he is and stop him before he kills again?