Maginnis: House leadership has 'followship' problem
The upside for the Jindal administration, after the gutting of its budget, is that the appropriations bill is out of the rebellious House and now in the friendly hands and wise heads of the Senate. Led by the masterful Senate president, John Alario, the upper chamber can be relied upon to restore the so-called one-time revenues deleted by the House and then, teamed with Gov. Bobby Jindal, quell the pesky House conservatives and pass the budget basically as written. Does not the quarrelsome independence of the House always melt before the combined strength of the popular governor and unified Senate? Isn't that what happened last year? Doesn't the governor hold the leadership cards as well as the budget strings? When one has to ask so many questions about the Louisiana Legislature, one has to wonder. To review, after the House Appropriations Committee sliced deeper into the governor's shakily balanced executive budget, fiscal hawks on the floor took away $267 million more by blocking the use of one-time money—including proceeds from building sales and lawsuit settlements, but also from special funds that are replenished each year with dedicated taxes and fees. The administration harrumphed that the new reductions were overestimated or nonspecific, that they threatened higher education and health care, and relied on one-time cuts of their own, such as possibly forcing two-day furloughs on state workers. In all, House action seemed a Tea Party manifesto, shouted from the front steps of the State Capitol by junior Republicans. Read the full column here.
(John Maginnis publishes LaPolitics Weekly, a newsletter on Louisiana politics, at LaPolitics.com.)
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