Friday, 08 June 2012 12:23
by The Independent Editors
Dem rep: Jindal victories illusory
[Editor’s Note: The following letter to the editor was submitted by Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite.]
Gov. Jindal can claim victory in the just completed legislative session but — thank goodness — the facts prove otherwise.
As the session started, Democrats in the House of Representatives pronounced the governor’s retirement package dead on arrival. For the most part, we were right.
Of the six parts of his package, five failed. Drastically delaying the retirement age, dead. Increasing employees’ contributions, dead. Reducing the benefits of future retirees, dead. All but eliminating cost-of-living increases for retirees, dead. Trying to merge two retirement systems at no savings to the taxpayer, dead. They were all unwise, unfair and — for the most part — unconstitutional.
More importantly, most of those bills did nothing to reduce the state’s retirement debt by even a penny.
The governor’s scheme to create a “cash balance” benefit for new employees — a plan that would deny most employees dignity and security in retirement — did squeak though, but only because of a tortured twisting of House rules.
That’s how the governor won every “victory” he claims. He and his allies resorted to breaking rules, ignoring the constitution and other excesses like springing 47-page amendments onto 3-page bills without giving committee members time to even read the massive changes.
They hold up that conduct as fair and transparent. I would call it unworthy of our people.
The governor was a bit more successful with his education package but only after more flouting of the rules and rushing through massive and complicated legislation. On the last day of the session, the House approved the $3.4 billion plan that funds local school systems with 51 votes when — by a rule that the speaker of the House ignored — that legislation needed 53 votes to pass.
As many predicted, serious flaws in the governor’s education package are already being exposed. The education department has already approved for taxpayer-funded vouchers schools that don’t have the teachers, classrooms, books or equipment to teach hundreds of new students. More worrisome, many of these schools do not have any history of delivering educational excellence.
This is not about right or left; it’s about right and wrong. Just look at how Democrats and Republicans joined to oppose the flawed MFP legislation.
I and many of my colleagues work in Baton Rouge on behalf of Louisiana workers, Louisiana families and Louisiana students. This session, we saw the needs of our people lose out to the governor’s personal political ambitions.
Rep. John Bel Edwards Chairman, Louisiana House Democratic Caucus Amite, LA
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
APR 15 Blogger CB Forgotston is writing in this post about the newest hire by Gov. Bobby Jindal, a press secretary whose only means of contact is (apparently) Twitter. (Yeah, because that worked so good for Kyle.) CB has done a little digging on the lady, but wants more info -- and he's not getting it from the source, because she won't return his twits. Twerps. Uh, tweets.
APR 15 Blogger Elliott Stonecipher has his say on the McAllister mess in this post on Forward Now. Looks like the architects of the plan to oust McAllister are getting a little blow-back, Stonecipher opines, and it reminds him of an old cliche about revenge.
APR 15 Not one to walk past a golden opportunity, Democrat John Bel Edwards says his piece in this Picayune post on the GOP's issue du jour. The hypocrisy of the GOP calling on McAllister to resign and staying silent on Vitter is so massive there's not even a word for it, Edwards says, and so he came up with his own: hypo-hypocrisy.
APR 15 Here's Grist's take on the so-called kalegate issue over in NOLA. If you've forgotten, it all started when a Dutch actress said that New Orleans is not cosmopolitan because you can't get kale there (Sister, you can get kale at the Wal-Mart in Lafayette. Where you shopping?) This post, by Heather Hansman, also gets into the larger (class/elitism) issues brought to light by this discussion.
APR 15 Here's the latest poll done on the Congressional race over in Baton Rouge that is distinguished by the presence of one of Louisiana's most famous felons, reported by LaPolitics. This poll (done by a GOP candidate in the race) says that a majority of those contacted don't want Edwards to be a Congressman. That's a reverse of another poll done a few weeks ago, but hey, poll results like Louisiana weather -- give 'em a few minutes, they'll change.
APR 15 It's always entertaining to read what white American men have to say about diversity, and this post by blogger Rod Dreher is no different. He's addressing a column by a Harvard student about the lack of meaningful diversity at that university. As expected, Dreher disagrees, and gives us a lecture on how progressives are lying to themselves (and everybody else).
APR 15 Here's the New York Times story on the McAllister (ahem) affair. Giving us the story briefly, it then focuses on the words of regular West Monroeans who were interviewed by the venerable publication. The bottom line? The hypocrisy of the GOP's contempt for McAllister and silence on Vitter is not lost on these people, and it didn't take the writer long to pick up on the racial differences of that (virtually segregated) community.
APR 15 A year after Gov. Jindal sold (wups - privatized) our public hospital system, some of these deals still don't have federal Medicaid-Medicare approval, and nobody has any answer as to what will happen if that approval never comes, AP's Melinda Deslatte writes in this post.
APR 14 Blogger Bob Mann writes about Louisiana's relationship with Big Oil in this post. For years, our government has functioned as "a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Oil," Mann writes, and likens the relationship to "traumatic bonding." That's the tie that develops between the victim and the perpetrator in an abusive relationship. It's an interesting read.
APR 14 Steve Singiser writes in this post on the Daily Kos Elections blog that "outsider" status probably got Vance McAllister elected last fall, but it's going against him now. The same GOP that stayed silent when Sen. David Vitter's name (and possibly other personal information) was found in the little black book of a prostitute is now calling on McAllister to resign for kissing a staffer. (OK, for getting caught kissing a staffer) It's all politics, Singiser writes: they can look morally superior and get rid of a problem at the same time, he says.
APR 14 Here's an interesting post in The Lens about t-shirt shops in the French Quarter. If you haven't heard, apparently there have been police raids on purveyors of horrifying things like t-shirts. One wonders how the police have time for this type of thing when a few miles away young people are dying in the streets -- but we digress. As CW Cannon writes, this debate "reeks of class bias." No kidding.
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly