Four past governors rode down to the state capitol this week to ‘reason’ with Governor Bobby Jindal about higher education cuts.  I found this to be a fascinating move by former Governors Kathleen Blanco, Mike Foster, Buddy Roemer and Dave Treen, especially since they contributed to the overspending mess we find ourselves in today. 

Over the last 14 years, voters have had a front row seat to statewide spendthrift practices by various governors and legislators.  A quick glance at past news reports give a brief overview:

  • On January 9, 2005, The Advocate told us that Governor Blanco’s first operating budget added $500 million to state spending.
  • On January 12, 2003, John Hill of The Town Talk pointed out to us that Governor Mike Foster had 7 years to address state spending, yet failed to do so.
  • On February 15, 1995, Wardlaw of The Times Picayune told us that former Governor Edwin Edwards left incoming Governor Buddy Roemer a $1 billion deficit in 1987.

Putting things into perspective are made possible by glancing at the State of Louisiana’s annual budget increases. 

Take a look at the growth in spending over the past 7 years, and you will see we have virtually doubled state spending:

  • 2001-2002 State Budget:  $15.5 Billion (Governor Foster)
  • 2002-2003 State Budget:  $16.3 Billion (Governor Foster)
  • 2003-2004 State Budget:  $16.7 Billion (Governor Foster)
  • 2004-2005 State Budget:  $17.5 Billion (Governor Blanco)
  • 2005-2006 State Budget:  $18.7 Billion (Governor Blanco)
  • 2006-2007 State Budget:  $26.7 Billion (Governor Blanco)
  • 2007-2008State Budget:  $29.8 Billion (Governor Blanco)

For the 2008-2009 budget, spending was estimated at $29,732,692,645, with an estimated deficit of $2,181,531.  Yes, those numbers are billions!

Blanco and Foster have no footing since they alone doubled state spending in 7 short years.  It comes natural to them to spend more and cut less.  Maybe they have some brilliant idea of how we can pull the money out of our !#$%&? 

When does the spendthrift madness end?  No, I do not want to see higher education cut.  (In case you were wondering.)  Yet, cutting the budget is in order.

While we focus on not cutting higher education, earmarks are slipped in the back door.  It’s an endless mindset of overspending that no one wants to properly address.

Are any of these naysayer-ex-governors offering alternative measures for increasing spending or cuts elsewhere in the budget? 

They’ve already had their 15 minutes of fame, which consisted of a total of 20 years in state government and excessive spending.  Now they want to return and give advice to current Governor Bobby Jindal?  Is that correct?

I realize each individual will have their own perception of this ‘newsworthy’ event.  No doubt it will run the gambit depending on your personal stand on the state spending and cuts. 

For years we were ‘informed’ that Jindal was the ‘whiz kid’, and the only real answer to getting Louisiana back on track.  How quickly those same individuals have turned on Jindal like vipers.  Politics is so fascinating, isn’t it? 

Even the political bloggers told us Jindal was ‘the only choice for change’.  Now look at what they are saying; how entertaining they have become.  I call them fair weather supporters. 

There is no easy solution.  So, I have questions for the pundits and politicians:

  • Where are you willing cut?  Walk with me down budget cutting lane
    • The homeless? 
    • The poor? 
    • The uninsured? 
    • The elderly? 
    • The children? 
    • Economic development? 
    • Roads and bridges? 
    • Emergency services such as EMS, Police or Fire? 
    • Your community? 
    • Your neighborhood? 
    • Who is willing to volunteer a cut for the greater good? 

Silence?  Surely someone can offer something more than a tale of five governors who simply cry out ‘don’t cut higher ed funding”?  Anyone?

I’m waiting . . .

Until next time,

Red Stick Republican