As we continue to see Wisconsin’s economy underperform the nation and particularly a number of our neighbors, just be thankful that despite the best efforts of Governor Scott Walker and the GOP majority in Madison…Wisconsin has been more resilient and has fared better than Louisiana.
Bobby Jindal left the governor’s office nearly two months ago, but his legacy permeates a special legislative session aimed at digging Louisiana out of deep financial troubles.
Louisiana’s worst budget crisis in nearly 30 years is threatening public colleges with cuts that could shutter campuses mid-semester and putting health care services for the poor and disabled at risk of elimination.
State leaders blame the Republican former governor for creating — and hiding — many of those woes. [emphasis mine]
Jindal, burnishing his fiscal conservative credentials for his failed presidential campaign, refused to hike taxes or approve any action that even resembled a tax hike, including trimming expensive business tax credits, even amid an economic downturn. So, TV’s bearded men of “Duck Dynasty” got millions in film tax credit subsidies, while tuition skyrocketed for college students at campuses struggling with deep state financing cuts.
Criticism of Jindal is bipartisan and widespread, with irritated lawmakers left sifting through the highly-unpopular choices of raising taxes or taking a hatchet to higher education and government services. They’re considering enacting tax bills Jindal vetoed and stripping a fake tax credit created to protect Jindal’s anti-tax record. [emphasis mine]
Legislators are hearing that cuts described by the Jindal administration as “efficiencies” actually went much deeper, striking at services. They’ve learned about borrowing practices that increased state debts and about threats to Louisiana’s cash flow because it spent down reserves.
“We’ve been living in a fictional world for the last eight years,” said Jay Dardenne, a Republican who served as lieutenant governor under Jindal and is now chief financial adviser to Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who inherited the problems.
Edwards called the special session to try to stabilize Louisiana’s budget. He also suggested he is revealing the true depth of the problems Jindal hid.
“It’s time for fiscal responsibility in this state. No more smoke and mirrors,” Edwards said.
yeah…Wisconsin so far has been relatively lucky…if you accept the cuts to public education…cuts to the UW system…the gutting of benefits to public employees…the reduction in state support for cities and villages…and the caps on municipal budgets…oh yeah…and the neutering of the Milwaukee County board as lucky. But despite all of that and the penchant in Madison to give away every perceived budget surplus before it’s been achieved…we haven’t quite hit bottom yet.