APPEL: John Bel’s Line Item Veto Blows Up Louisiana’s Budget

Even as hundreds of thousands of Louisianans are out of work, businesses are failing, and no one has any idea of where jobs will come from, Governor Edwards through a line item veto apparently has funded tens of millions of dollars of automatic pay raises to state employees. Keep in mind that this also means millions more in automatic employee benefit increases.

I don’t begrudge employees, they work very hard. But the legislature for the first time in memory set aside the funds which would have gone to the automatic raise because no one knows if we will have the resources to avoid layoffs and/or pay cuts in the near future.

Tragically ours is the same governor who has not come up with one idea, not a single one, how to help our economy get back on its feet and to not continue its slide into oblivion. But apparently he just assumes that either he can raise taxes or that we will get some kind of Federal windfall in order to pay for ever more growth of government, so he has delivered his veto to the legislature in its efforts to reserve some funds to protect valuable state services and state jobs in the event of a revenue shortfall.

Taxpayers should remember that just five years ago, before Edwards was governor, our budget was about $27 billion. Today, in the face of a potentially devastating recession, we are spending over $35 billion and Edwards’ veto has unilaterally incurred for us automatic spending increases that will grow that orgiastic budget by hundreds of millions a year.

Does anyone think that we are getting $8 billion in better services? Actually, just today, in still another national rating, Louisiana was ranked dead last among states for delivery of state services, dead last. This even though almost every southern state had lower tax burdens and we have increased spending by that $8 billion.

Ever increasing spending, bad delivery of state services, no concept of how to help hundreds of thousands of citizens who lost jobs, plus a total lack of fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers…… that will be the legacy of our governor.



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