Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne gave a press conference on Tuesday about the state budget. In the conference, he railed against the GOP’s Standstill budget which cuts the Department of Health and Hospitals in restores funding to TOPS.
Dardenne claimed that the cuts would cause catastrophic damage to Louisiana’s hospitals. The cuts would make the state unable to draw down Federal matching funds. He also claims that the cuts would force the state to not pay public private partnerships the money they are due under the agreements made under the Jindal administration. He also stressed that Governor Edwards did not support the arrangements in the legislature.
Dardenne then started to complain about “micromanagement” from the legislature. He claimed the legislature wanted to take away the right of department heads to allocate money as they see fit. He said “it would grind the wheels of government to a halt” until the Joint Legislative Budget Committee meets. Under the “standstill budget” the committee would approve any changes made by department heads.
Dardenne then complained about money being allocated for the Comite Diversion Canal. He says it should be allocated through the capital outlay process.
The Dardenne turned the show over the various department. The various department heads all whined about how terrible the cuts are. Some even took the opportunity to take jabs at the Jindal administration, blaming them for cuts.
This performance is the Louisiana version of the Washington Monument strategy. Instead of cutting fat and other parts of the budget that are redundant, the Edwards administration wants to cut parts of the budget that would make ordinary Louisianians. Hell, that’s how they started the budget process. If JBE and Dardenne don’t get the spending and tax increases they want, TOPS won’t be fully funded.
Back in the old days, Edwin Edwards would threaten to shut off the dialysis machines in Charity Hospital if he didn’t get his tax increases. JBE and Dardenne have learned well.