Friday, December 7, 2012

Bobby Jindal: Bring the Rhetoric Home!

Source:  Louisiana Progress - Dec. 7, 2012

Gov. Jindal called for Republicans to rethink their approach to the so-called "fiscal cliff" negotiations and instead fight for structural reforms, such as instituting a federal balanced budget amendment, requiring a super majority to raise taxes or creating term limits.
While he didn't suggest that Republicans should drop their opposition to tax increases on the wealthy, he argued that the party's focus should be elsewhere.
Jindal wrote in an op-ed published in Politico, "[I]n the negotiations, Republicans certainly should fight to at least get something done that will matter. At present, any reading of the headlines over the past week indicates that Republicans are fighting to protect the rich and cut benefits for seniors. It may be possible to have worse political positioning than that, but I’m not sure how."
Pot Meet Kettle… 
Clearly the reinvention of Governor Bobby Jindal and his national political rhetoric has skewed his reality.   
Back in the Real World of Louisiana: 
Louisiana has not had a balanced budget in the five years of the Jindal Administration.  Every year, the budget is patched together with one-time money and massive mid-year budget cuts.  In fact, a group of Republican legislators have revolted against the Governor over his poor fiscal management.
Louisiana continues to eviscerate higher education, social services, health care and public education, but finds the money to give away massive tax breaks to out of state corporations.
Big Business Tax Breaks 
As Jindal continues to tout his ever changing personality as the kinder and gentler Republican, Louisiana Budget Project estimates that, "Louisiana spends at least $1.79 billion a year on corporate subsidies and incentive programs at the state and local level, which comes to $394 for every man, woman and child in the state.”
LBP’s analysis of Louisiana’s tax exemptions found that the cost of “tax incentives and exemption contracts administered by the Department of Economic Development climbed from $59 million in 2001 to nearly $400 million a decade later—a 573% increase.”
The state capital outlay budget is always over subscribed to available funding and managing debt is a principal function of the state budget.
Dismantling Services to Children, Seniors and Disadvantaged
There is always enough money for big out of state businesses, but no money for the people--funding for schools has been frozen, public hospital are shuttered and the average working family still struggles to make ends meet.
Meanwhile, the schools are crumbling, the universities are withering, the public hospitals are being sold at bargain prices.
Louisiana would rather make out of state national health care and insurance conglomerates rich, rather than focusing on providing adequate access to health care to Louisiana citizens.
The impact of political rhetoric and positioning on the national stage….
  • How about refusing to cover the 124,000 children and 771,000 adults (20% of Louisiana) who are uninsured through the Affordable Care Act?
  • How about denying the citizens of Louisiana the opportunity to create a health insurance exchange and design our own package of Essential Health Benefits?
What is the Impact of National Political Positioning?
Governor Jindal considers himself a possible 2016 presidential contender and has embarked on a campaign to rebrand himself and his party since the election. Last month, Jindal told Politico, “We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything. We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”
It is clear that the political rhetoric from Governor Jindal gives on the national level does not match the actions here in Louisiana. If being Governor of Louisiana is the job he wants, as he always says, then maybe he should fix the mess in Louisiana. 
Out of state, out of touch and out of ideas…

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