Budget Reality Catches Up On Jindal
How charming? It looks as though Governor Jindal’s economic miracle in Louisiana isn’t such a miracle after all. Not that he’d admit it:
The Revenue Estimating Conference — which decides how much money the state can spend — revised the state’s financial forecast Tuesday night after listening to economists’ projections.The state operating budget that funds schools and other public services is based on those projections. When they fall short, extra money has to be found or spending has to be cut.“The problem isn’t just too high of a forecast. The problem is the economy,” said Greg Albrecht, chief economist for the Legislative Fiscal Office.
Albrecht said the underlying economy is weaker than it is being reported to be. It’s an assessment to which Gov. Bobby Jindal disagrees.
Mind you, this is after the REC reported that revenues were a full $304m less than anticipated, putting more strain on an already beleaguered State operating budget. But after the facts were presented, Jindal refused to address his role in causing the disaster:
Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater, the governor’s top budget aide, said state agencies already are aware of the financial problems.“Obviously, we’re going to have to make reductions,” Rainwater said.
The governor tried to strike a positive note during a news conference after the meeting concluded. Jindal said Louisiana’s economy is performing comparatively well. “Obviously, we’re going to work with the Legislature to make sure we have a balanced budget,” the governor said.
Jindal’s positive spin on the state’s economy conflicted with the conversation at the Revenue Estimating Conference meeting.
Well, “OBVIOUSLY” you are required to balance the budget, but isn’t it also obvious that most of this issue is the result of Jindal’s addiction to one-time money and privatization schemes in his budgeting strategy?
But Jindal wouldn’t have to stray too far from the GOP alternative reality to get advice. None other than the Sinator “Diapers” David Vitter needled Jindal on this front earlier this month:
In an email to supporters, Vitter said the state’s continued use of one-time dollars for ongoing expenses only serves to “kick the can down the road from making the tough, but necessary, budget decisions for our state” because the state isn’t certain to continue to have the money.
“That practice is too akin to Washington’s way of business, and Louisianians rightly acknowledge Washington doesn’t know the first thing about fiscal stewardship,” Vitter wrote.The senator urged “conservative reformers” to restrict the use of such budget maneuvers that shuffle one-time dollars to continuing expenses.”It will certainly make budget decisions tougher, but I believe it will also make our fiscal house healthier in the long run,” Vitter said