John Neely Kennedy, Mississippi born yet groomed to tackle our generation’s issues, seems to be the new “darling” of the progressive outsiders. And the Lake Charles American Press issued an editorial today (LINK) that cuts to the heart of key Louisiana failures in the recent legislative session and why Kennedy leadership can solve existing problems.
In short, no creative problem solving skills were utilized to solve dire shortfall in revenue to cover existing gaps in the current session of the legislature. The Jindal team offered little in the way of creative problem solving, other than the slash and burn to each legislator’s district programs and threats to projects unless the governor’s process to solve shortfalls was adopted.
Higher education, healthcare and the rainy day fund were raided to accomplish the Jindal’s package, which included bloated contracts to supporters of the governor. Existing contracts totaling nearly $133 million with two out-of-state companies that provide standardized tests for public school students were never under the microscope. It was the vested interest of the governor’s supporters.
There was the usual push to keep college graduates in state while at the same time more than half of the education contracts go to non-Louisiana companies. State Education Superintendent John White had no answer to questions that would solve contracts and jobs leaving the state. His only response was that all the contracts are above board and awarded according to state bid law.
John Kennedy has repeatedly saved state money at all posts he has held, and he has clamors that the state review of all the 16,000 consulting contracts, and demand there be a 10 percent cut in contracts saving 750 million and renegotiate the remaining contracts with a 5 percent cost cut for another estimated $337.5 million. These two items save nearly $1 billion, which alone would have been more than enough to avoid cover existing health care and higher education needs in this last session. This also would have prevented the raid of the state’s rainy day fund.
From the American Press: “When Kennedy points to a $94,000 state contract with a California company to teach children how to play, he buttresses his argument.”
White’s Education Department failed miserably when questioned on voucher issues for a Ruston school that was approved for 315 vouchers yet didn’t even have space or teachers for the pupils. White also has not been forthcoming with answers to repeated requests for information. In short there is neither transparency in the Department of Education nor a will to serve the state.
The BESE board has been a rubber stamp for the superintendent and the governor’s programs not a sounding board or a checking board. The standard operating procedure is “No Questions!”
Kennedy has been abrasive and it’s time voters recognize the need for real questions to the governor’s tactics and those of his servants. State spending cuts could be made in state government with little affect on state services. If the TEA Party stands for what they claim, they certainly aren’t putting any backbone in their demands.
Questioning how state tax money is spent is what a State Treasurer should be doing, and Kennedy fits the mold. It’s time we demand production from our elected office holders, and Kennedy may be fit for higher office.