…it was killed in the Senate Finance Committee, which is chaired by a Democrat, Eric LaFleur, though it has a Republican majority.
Allegedly. One of the Senators who went after Landry for advocating that he, rather than John Bel Edwards’ commissioner of administration Jay Dardenne, ought to control his own budget was Jim Fannin, who like Senate President John Alario is an old-time Democrat who wandered into the GOP after his old party had made itself noxious.
“I just think the AG’s budget is too interconnected to the rest of the state budget,” said Sen. Jim Fannin, R-Jonesboro, who was the head of the House Appropriations Committee previously and used to help write the state budget. “You’ve got to operate with one person at the top handling all the money.”
Which is patent nonsense. Hundreds of people handle money in a state government, and in a constitutional republic as Louisiana is, you want power diffused and separated so that there is less opportunity for “one person at the top” to operate as a tyrant.
Fannin, the newly-minted Republican, is apparently not suspicious at all of the Democrat governor.
The fact is, there was never going to be budgetary independence for Landry. This entire exercise was one of making a point rather than carrying through real reform in Louisiana.
It’s obvious now, and it’s been obvious since the election last fall, that getting honest-to-God good legislation passed for the next four years is not going to happen. Bad bills – some bad bills – can be defeated. But good bills, like HB 105 which would have given budgetary independence to an Attorney General who will without question clash with a governor from time to time if the AG is actually doing his job and should probably be protected from budgetary retaliation as a matter of sensible government, aren’t going to pass in the Louisiana Senate.
Not while that body is controlled by Alario, who is John Bel Edwards’ willing and happy stooge despite the fraudulent “R” next to his name. And not while nobody in the Senate has the stones to buck him. Nobody ever does, which is suspicious. The Senate has 25 Republicans, and it appears none of them are bothered enough to say a word in dissent over the fact that body kills every single piece of legislation John Bel Edwards doesn’t want to have to veto.
In such a body, budget independence for the Attorney General is a reform possible only in a dream world.
And Edwards’ people know it. We’re told his executive counsel exchanged winks with Lafleur after the committee hearing ended, and the hubris was so thick that Dardenne actually called the bill unconstitutional yesterday.
Jay Dardenne, who is a career politician they’ll have to carry out of the State Capitol either in handcuffs or a pine box, has apparently gotten a crash course in the Louisiana Constitution over the last two months. Here was Jay Dardenne on this exact topic in March…
It apparently doesn’t bother Dardenne that he’s trashed whatever credibility he may have ever had, but then Dardenne is being paid a quarter million dollars a year, plus potentially 80 percent of that figure in perpetuity after he’s finally put to pasture, as Edwards’ chief budget minion. One suspects his credibility would be forfeit for far less – for that amount of money he’d gladly testify that he is an orange cockatoo.
And in the Louisiana Senate he could say so with not a peep of protest.
What’s coming, particularly as Landry stands against Edwards in the latter’s friendly attitude toward the Obama administration as it abuses its power – the tranny-in-the-bathroom mandate being a current example – is Edwards and Dardenne unleashing budgetary retaliation against Landry. We saw the first indication of that yesterday when Lafleur attacked Landry for having bought a couple of cars for the AG’s office; that’s a pretext for making him out as a wastrel and slashing his budget.
But when it comes, Landry will be a prophet. He’ll be the guy who saw it coming, sought to head it off and won the argument in the House. That will matter – perhaps not to the Democrats’ pets in the state’s dead-tree media, but to a public which is souring quickly on this governor and his goons.