A plan for governor Jindal chould be very similar in process to a business owner’s operation model. Without a model, business exists in a vacuum of daily transaction without a unified goal or objectives for managers to determine the effectiveness of workers and processes they are expected to guide. The Louisiana “ship of state” right now seems rudderless and legislators and tax payers are subject to factors over which they have no control and few have any understanding that would allow them to make plans for their businesses.
Now, as the start of the legislative session approaches, we are finding some facts about Jindal plans for Louisiana:
Jindal admits he doesn’t have a plan (Clue!) on how to accomplish the state income tax ban he recently touted. As covered in Louisiana Voice, Jindal actually admitted to reporters the plan was not actually “worked out.” And, as of today there is nothing to share with legislators.
As far as raising revenue to cover the budget shortfall, Jindal today came out with a proposal to increase $1,00 on each pack of cigarettes from $.36 to $1.36. This would allow Louisiana to remain below the national average tax of $1.48 per pack. This tax would help plug the gap in the current budget, but it’s only one hole in the levee that continues to leak.
Now the governor’s plan includes releasing non-violent drug offenders early in return current convicted offenders completing an intensive drug treatment plan. This proposed plan could save the state $2 million a year by releasing 500 incarcerated this year alone.
Additionally Jindal would cut back on programs that assist children who are “at risk.” The immediate backlash may not be seen, but more children would become wards of the court due to the failure to fund intervention programs that previously served youth offenders. Cradle-to-prison intervention requires consistent expenditures for treatment and reliance on educational programs already under the budget axe.
Cuts to the mental health programs mean the release or reduction in incarcerated will have no intervention program designed for troubled youth. This part of the plans by the governor’s staff clearly have not evolved.
And as if to pour boiling oil on educators, cuts to public education will give Jindal cause to blame the failure not on the cuts, but the failure in the schools. After all, schools and teachers are sending children into the cycle of drugs, poverty and incarceration.
Jindal’s top budget adviser, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols, is expected to outline some details of the governor’s budget plan Friday for lawmakers. Legislative negotiating will be required to close the 1.3 billion gap in the 2013-14 fiscal year budge that starts July 1.
The governor’s plan is sketchy at best and problematic for a state that seems to only know how to raise additional taxes and support programs that have growing appetites and little control. The governor still appears to maintain control of the process as the legislature has not found a voice.