Maginnis: Thorny path ahead at the Capitol
Clearing the halfway point of the legislative session on Monday, few governors have been as successful as Bobby Jindal. Yet the first may have been his better half, given the trouble lying ahead with pensions, prisons and—scariest of all—a budget teetering out of balance. Regardless of how one judges his education agenda, passing so many major changes in so short a time with so few compromises was a feat of executive willpower over the legislative branch, which more resembled a twig. Reordering the public retirement system, however, is proving to be a thornier affair. Then there's the budget, questionably balanced as it is; the Legislature could find itself short by another $200 million unless sluggish tax collections rally. Regardless, the administration avers that the budget will be balanced without tax increases, which can't be considered in this session anyway, according to the constitution. Here's Jindal's deeper problem. Since before he was first elected, the Republican mantra has been that Louisiana does not have a revenue problem, but a spending problem. We have not heard him disagree. If this budget has to be balanced with more deep cuts to higher education and health care, on top of those made last term, the question will be asked: If Jindal has controlled both revenue and spending for five years now, what—or who—is the problem? Read the full column here.
(John Maginnis publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com.)
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