Coal in the stocking? Outgoing Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal seems to have left a stocking full of coal for new Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. After eight years of Jindal and his legislative lackeys, the state is facing a $1.9 billion budget shortfall in the next fiscal year. Edwards plans to call a special session to deal with that calamity. Jindal also dropped into Edwards’ lap the fact that Louisiana is ranked as the worst state in the nation according to a study by Politico. Actually, 51st, if you include the District of Columbia. Louisiana ranks 41st in annual per capita income, 46th in unemployment with 6.3%, 49th in percentage below poverty, 19th in home ownership, 48th in percentage of graduates from high school, 48th in life expectancy at birth, and 47th at percentage of infant deaths at birth. In addition, the state is 49th in obesity, 41st in well-being, 49th in math (8th grade), 48th in reading (8th grade), 48th in income inequality, 45th in violent crime rate, and 45th in percentage employed in computer engineering science. That’s Jindal’s legacy. While he tried to paint a rosy picture of his tenure as Louisiana’s governor as he campaigned for the GOP presidential nomination, apparently Republican voters did not buy it. Politico noted that of the five worst ranked states, four have or had Republican governors. Also, of the five best ranked states, four have or had Democrat governors. The five worst states are Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and West Virginia. The five best states are New Hampshire, Minnesota, Vermont, Utah, and Colorado. As if that wasn’t bad enough news for Edwards, Jeremy Alford of LaPolitics Weekly revealed that in the final weeks of being governor, Jindal and his cabinet heads implemented millions of dollars of pay raises for some state employees. In addition, Jindal made nearly two dozen last-minute appointments to boards and commissions in what appears to be an obvious attempt to undercut the ability of Edwards to put his loyalists in those position The big unanswered question is how much cooperation will the Republican-controlled Legislature give Edwards in his attempts to fix state problems. Already, the Louisiana House of Representatives has denied Edwards his choice for Speaker, instead voting in the same type of leadership that has the state in the mess it’s in. On the other side of the Capitol, Senate President John Alario, a Democrat-turned-Republican, did appoint Democrats to head two of the most powerful Senate committees. Political pundits will be watching to see if GOP members of the Legislature adopt the same attitude as did the Congressional GOP with President Obama. That attitude was to do everything possible to make sure President Obama did not succeed so the GOP could reclaim the White House. Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.
Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.