A gaggle of state representatives, all of them Republican save for one independent, have asked state Attorney General Buddy Caldwell for an opinion on whether the 2012-13 state budget is unconstitutional “on multiple grounds.” That would be the budget submitted by Gov. Bobby Jindal before the 2012 legislative session — a budget laden with accounting gimmicks and reliant on one-time, non-recurring revenue for recurring expenses, which is precisely why the group of lawmakers seeks Caldwell’s opinion. Rep. Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette, is among the legislators seeking the AG opinion.
“Legislators are concerned whether Louisiana’s state budget is constitutional and lawful,” says Rep. Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge and vice-chairman of the House Commerce Committee, in a press release announcing the legal query. “We are seeking guidance regarding whether exceeding the revenue forecast; use of contingency funds and one-time funds in the budget are lawful and constitutional. We hope to continue the efforts of legislators to ensure that our budget and budget process yield a result that best serves the needs of the people, families and businesses of Louisiana.”
We can’t help but wonder if this is a perilous (albeit necessary) move by the solons, in light of the governor’s well-known penchant for dispensing punishment — ouster from prestigous committees, loss of chairmanships, etc. — against lawmakers who fail to smile that wan, sycophantic smile.
But it also conforms to a trend of state lawmakers demonstrating and acting publicly on their unease with the way Jindal has run state government. A related initiative involving some of the same lawmakers as Talbot’s group and evidently entirely Republican among the ranks of elected officials, the Budget Reform Campaign, has been making noise about promoting budget reform — especially ending the use of one-time dollars for recurring expenses, something Jindal is famous for — via constitutional amendments. The group has formed a political action committee managed by state Rep. Simone Champagne, a Jeanerette Republican.
The announcement by Talbot et al comes on the heels of the governor’s budget advisors announcing late last week that the 2013-2014 budget, which begins July 1, 2013, already faces a staggering $963 million shortfall. That’s 96 percent of a billion dollars, kids, so let’s just call it a billion.
Check out the Budget Reform Campaign’s website here.
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NOV 21 Bobby Jindal is headed to Iowa again, the Des Moines Register reports here. The paper outlines what's going on with Bobby's non-campaign for president, and there's a lot of stuff here -- too bad none of it sounds like somebody running Louisiana. Hey, wasn't that the job he wanted?
NOV 21 The end of the term has come for the grand jury investigating a lucrative Medicaid contract and a former state health official's ties to the company that won it, the Advocate reports here, but that doesn't mean the investigation into this stinkiness is over. There are still some things to look into, the lead prosecutor says.
NOV 21 With the passage of two amendments to Louisiana's much-amended constitution (it has been amended almost 200 times now) higher education has an even bigger target on its collective back, columnist Jim Beam opines in this post. Higher ed used to share the spotlight with health care, but that has changed, he says.
NOV 21 Here's a weird one: The Louisiana Cannabis Industry Association has endorsed Bill Cassidy for the U.S. Senate. Apparently, Mary Landrieu said she wouldn't consider support of medical marijuana but Cassidy said he would, WWL reports here.
NOV 21 Solange Knowles, possibly best-known for assaulting her brother-in-law in an elevator while wearing an ugly dress after the Met Ball, got married in the Marigny Opera House this past weekend, the New York Times reports here. Knowles, who has a house in the Faubourg Marigny district and owns a boutique in the Quarter, married Alan Ferguson.
NOV 21 This post on the Fuel Fix blog outlines a $1.4 billion move announced this week by the Apache Corp. that includes the sale of assets in south Louisiana. The company's interests in more than 90,000 acres in south Louisiana are some of the assets being sold, the post reports.
NOV 21 One (possible) positive from Hurricane Katrina is a comprehensive zoning ordinance for New Orleans. Nine years later, we're getting closer to that being finalized, but the current version has some problems. Here's the latest in a series of posts on The Lens in which residents give their views of the draft; this one is more amusing than most.
NOV 21 The new NOLA smoking ordinance is going to harsh your (nicotine) buzz, man. This post on Gambit outlines the high (or low, as the case may be) points: it includes electronic cigarettes and hookahs in its bans; eliminates smoking within 25 feet of any building's public entrance and in any public space - or near any public space - operated by the city.
NOV 20 Politico reports here that Bobby Jindal won't be kept out of the presidential race by anyone else's candidacy. (If he's running, which he's not, 'cause he's not done prayin' on it) So he's not interested in who is running, or what the polls say, or how much money he's got? K.
NOV 20 NOLA Defender's Tiny Daiquiri has a little fun with Bobby Jindal's Meet the Press appearance in this post. Bobby is still prayin' on whether or not he'll run for the job he's been running for over the past three years, Tiny says.
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