The dome on the Republican Party in Louisiana is showing a fissure as the tit-for-tat over budget priorities between Gov. Bobby Jindal and state Treasurer John Kennedy gains momentum.
The spat got a head of steam earlier this week when Kennedy released an open letter to the Jindal administration accusing it of using scare tactics in an effort to bring pressure on lawmakers to restore nearly $270 million in cuts made to next fiscal year’s budget: “[P] please stop scaring our healthcare and higher education communities over the changes made to HB 1 by a majority vote of the Louisiana House of Representatives. It is not necessary to make the draconian reductions to the healthcare and higher education budgets you and your staff have suggested in order to achieve the fiscally responsible goals of the House.”
Kennedy’s letter ticked off a 10-point plan to reduce state spending through various means including cutting the state payroll, collecting outstanding debts, trimming consulting contracts and reorganizing departments.
Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater responded with an open letter of his own to Kennedy answering the treasurer’s plan point-by-point and jabbing at Kennedy in the preamble: “We appreciate your input, but with all due respect, the numbers that you continue to use to support your case are not based in reality and the ideas you continue to advocate for will not work.”
The bon mot wrapped in tongue-in-cheek irony came from Jindal flack Kyle Plotkin, who said in a statement, “John Kennedy has a long history of using numbers that don’t add up and proposing the same-old, same-old half-baked gimmicks. There’s nothing new here. These gimmicks haven’t worked before, and they aren’t going to work now. He’s just one confused politician.”
It’s that last sentence in Plotkin’s invective that is designed to sting Kennedy the most: The “one confused politician” was used repeatedly and to great effect against him in a series of political ads in 2008 when he ran against U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu. Kennedy’s spokesman during that 2004 U.S. Senate campaign was — you guessed it — Kyle Plotkin.
For more on the spat including Rainwater’s response, click here.
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AUG 22 Blogger Robert Mann is writing about the so-called Edmonson Amendment in this post, and he's not a fan. If Bobby Jindal really does support a "gold standard" of ethics he would have done something - or even said something - and yet he has not, Mann says.
AUG 22 Crazy Crawfish is blogging about the (interesting) incident of the state Education Department's website being out of commission earlier this week. It was reported (with heavy implications) in two local media outlets, and Crawfish feels the stories would have been better had the reporters done a little investigation instead of just printing what they were told.
AUG 22 Blogger Tom Aswell has some advice for state troopers who plan on making any public comments or challenges to the Jindal administration: don't do it. He's telling the story of one trooper who dared to challenge Commander Mike Edmonson's buddy and paid the price for it.
AUG 22 Columnist Clancy DuBos is writing about the upcoming elections in this post on Gambit. The field for local and federal offices has its share of old guys, he tells us, although mostly he's talking about Edwin Edwards.
AUG 22 Columnist Jim Beam is talking about the Office of Group Benefits in this post; that's the office that handles the money collected from state employees to pay their benefits. The OGB reserve fund has been reduced by half in the last year, and the Jindal administration keeps saying that's a good thing - but that's like telling a kid that castor oil is good, Beam says.
AUG 22 Columnist James Gill is writing about dueling efforts over the killing of animals; on one side is a lady trying to avoid the euthanizing of stray cats and on the other is a camp of folk who feel that there are enough black bears in Louisiana for us to start killing them for fun.
AUG 22 One could assume that nobody (teachers included) likes it when politicians tell them how to do their job. So what do teachers think about Common Core? Blogger Michael Deshotels is examining some responses from teachers who were asked. (Spoiler alert: none of these comments will be used in a Common Core marketing campaign.)
AUG 22 This post on The Hill is commenting upon the latest round of "that candidate is the worst person in the world" ads that are running in Louisiana's Senate race. This round takes aim at Bill Cassidy, the physician/Congressman who is challenging Mary Landrieu, and lists all the votes he has cast that hurt veterans.
AUG 21 Tom Aswell is telling us about another "efficiency" contract the state has signed. This one is paying a consultant (i.e. someone with a briefcase from out of town) $140 an hour, plus tens of thousands in air fare. The agency on the receiving end of this tender care? The DMV. Well -- that's working great, then.
AUG 21 Columnist Stephanie Riegel is writing about the scandal that has rocked the LSU Alumni Association (to wit, the executive director's "girlfriend" also was his employee; when they "broke up" he started paying her, with alumni money, to keep her mouth shut). In particular, she's looking for some lessons to learn from the mishigas.
AUG 21 This post on The Lens brings us up to date on the ongoing process of populating the levee board that will decide if the so-called Big Oil lawsuit will move forward. Gov. Jindal has done his best to put the kibosh on the suit by removing pro-suit members, but the process of replacing them is not simple, Bob Marshall tells us.
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