Bobby Jindal is off to a good start
in Louisiana. Will it last?Editor's note:
Here's what Louisiana's newspapers are saying in an email sent to me by Governor Jindal entitled "in case you missed it":IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Times Picayune, "Editorial: Keep on path of reform"
March 30, 2008
The Legislature begins Monday a three-month regular session that provides a chance to continue pushing for reforms, this time on issues ranging from fiscal policy to workforce training.
Lawmakers need to make the most of the opportunity.
The session's centerpiece is Gov. Bobby Jindal's $30 billion inaugural budget. The details are still being worked out, as individual departments take their funding requests through the legislative hearing process. But the broad policies in the governor's first spending plan are encouraging.
Taking a different course from the previous administration, Gov. Jindal proposes to cut in half, from $800 million to $420 million, the state's dependence on the surplus to pay for recurrent expenses. His blueprint also would shrink the bloated state bureaucracy by eliminating more than 1,300 vacant jobs.
These are significant steps to move Louisiana in a responsible fiscal direction…
These policies complement the recent decision from the administration and legislators to spend most of the leftover surplus from the last fiscal year in long-term investments such as roads, flood protection and coastal restoration.
Besides the budget, legislators also will consider Gov. Jindal's proposal to overhaul how the state trains workers for the job market, an area in which reform is long overdue.
The governor's plan, unveiled last week, seems to embody the concept Louisiana businesses have been pushing for years: investing public money to train people in areas where workers are most needed. The legislation calls for replacing the labor department with a more agile agency to better respond to market needs and to give employers more say on where training money is used.
Overhauling workforce training would continue recent reforms aimed at improving our state competitiveness, including accelerating some business tax cuts and approving recent ethics reforms. Read the complete editorial
Baton Rouge Advocate, "Editorial: Change focus of job training"
March 30, 2008
When the phrase “economic development” comes up, the image that occurs is physical — the smokestacks and roads and cranes that are involved in building what are called “megaprojects.” But it’s the warm bodies inside that count, and Louisiana would be, if truth is told, very hard-pressed to fill up a big new factory with qualified workers.
…the Jindal administration unveiled a series of steps, with legislative and executive actions, to improve the effectiveness of education and training programs.
The plan leans heavily on expanding programs and making funding changes in the state’s community and technical college system, but also borrows from elements of the Texas and Georgia work force programs that are considered national models. And Gov. Bobby Jindal said the administration’s program would involve a good deal of improving what works in today’s system. “We’re building on a lot of good work before us, but it’s time to speed up what is being done,” he said.
It is far and away the most complex undertaking in terms of government change that the Jindal administration has promised.
On two levels, Jindal’s proposal seeks to change deeply grooved patterns in the state’s culture.
At the government level, as he said, he’s asking for a rethinking of what’s being done. He said he wants government to fund performance instead of the going-through-the-motions payrolls…
But at a larger level, he wants to change the perception in the state’s society of what wealth is. Read the complete editorial
The News Star, “Editorial: Jindal Brings Sign of Hope”
March 27, 2008
Gov. Bobby Jindal's second special session was a resounding success, if not because he had unique ideas at least because he had the ability to persuade the Legislature to go along with them.
Indeed, the first two sessions under Jindal's tenure went down like bowling pins.
A $1.1 billion surplus was exhausted, mostly according to his agenda. Jindal's legacy will one day be viewable in new and improved roads, bridges and ports, business tax reductions and maintenance on college campuses.
The governor and Legislature spent a dizzying amount, to be sure. But they seemed to spend wisely in investing in state infrastructure rather than recurring debt the state likely would not be able to maintain.
Jindal was right: One-time surpluses should be invested in bricks and mortar, not in expanding government…
Passing bills to eliminate a 1 percent sales tax that businesses pay on utilities, which amounts to roughly $69 million savings for those companies, will open eyes of those mulling whether to locate their operations in Louisiana.
An expedited phaseout of taxes on manufacturing equipment and corporate debt also will help.
In a short period in office, Jindal already has sparked confidence that Louisiana government during his term will aim high and hold itself accountable for reaching high standards. Read the complete editorial
The Times Picayune, “Editorial: Governor is Fine, Thank You”
March 28, 2008
After two jam-packed special sessions, it seems as if the Jindal administration has been around for more than two months. But he was only sworn in in mid-January.
The governor is rightly flattered to be mentioned as a potential vice president. But he is also right that there is enormously important work to be done here. While he has made an impressive start, neither he nor the people of Louisiana can be satisfied yet.
With the regular session set to begin Monday, Gov. Jindal wants to try to make work force training in Louisiana better match the needs of the economy. He has plans for revamping mental health care and a host of other vital issues to deal with.
He has the good will of voters on his side, and he can get a lot accomplished in Louisiana with the power of the people behind him. Read the complete editorial
I NEVER really thought I could say this in this lifetime, but I can NOW say that Kentucky could learn a lot from Louisiana, thanks to Governor Bobby Jindal.
Labels: Conservative, Politics, Public Service, Republicanism