Monday, June 6, 2011

Jindal called on fake "efficiencies"

When Gov. Bobby Jindal announced his budget plans last March, lawmakers immediately noticed what one senator called the "imaginary dollars" that plugged holes in the spending plan.

They were less skeptical at the time about the proposed savings, or "funding efficiencies" that Jindal's advisers said would reduce the anticipated shortfall by some $225 million. After all, Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater and his assistant, Ray Stockstill, told the joint legislative budget committee that the savings were indeed available, and that they would provide a list.

But as Advocate Capitol Bureau Chief Mark Ballard reports here, after all these weeks, and after numerous requests, the list has yet to appear. Writes Ballard:

It’s gone on so long that Jindal’s inability to deliver The List has become a
punch line among legislators, roughly synonymous with “when pigs fly.” It’s
always good for a chuckle, when delivered while waiting in line for lunch or
talking about Baton Rouge traffic.

Lawmakers might joke about the missing list, but it's a nervous laugh. It will take real money, and a real willingness to face the state's fiscal crisis, to write a budget that will provide state services as well as meet the constitutional standard of balance. In the waning weeks of this fiscal session, both are in very short supply.

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