Okay, after much deliberation, soul-searching, and with encouragement from family and friends (and co-workers who just want me go somewhere, anywhere else), it is with tongue planted firmly in cheek that I announce my candidacy for governor of the gret stet of looziana.
I am offering my services with a fairly simple no-frills platform. Some of the individual planks in my platform are certain to offend some very influential people—and that’s a good thing. So, without fanfare, frills or equivocation, and with the promise of no compromise, here is that platform:
No out-of-state campaigning for any Democrat or Republican candidate. My first responsibility will be to the citizens of Louisiana, not some two-faced, lying parasite who has never held a real job. Besides, I’m an independent. Plus, I don’t trust any politician. And no out-of-state travel for book signings, either;
Merge several universities and junior colleges throughout the state and convert some four-year schools to junior college status. Failing that, at least merge some of the programs—such as the law schools at Southern University and LSU in Baton Rouge. With the help of a reluctant legislature, this will cut duplication in athletic scholarships, salaries of coaches and university administrators, and in replicated programs;
Turn over all operations of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security (otherwise known as the Governor’s Patronage Department) to the State Police where it was originally and should be again. If you recall, the administration pushed through a constitutional amendment in October that changed the Office of Homeland Security from classified (civil service) to non-classified (appointive) so that Homeland Security employees may receive any size pay raise the administration deems appropriate. Civil service employees, meanwhile, have their merit raises frozen indefinitely;
Eliminate the lieutenant governor’s office and assign the duties of that office to the secretary of state. Hey, it worked with the elections commission;
Have the Office of Contractual Review do its job by reviewing ALL contracts, including consulting contracts, to determine need;
Use the governor’s line-item veto to cut wasteful spending and to balance the state budget instead of laying off employees who have families to support, college tuition and home mortgages to pay, and who need health insurance;
In lieu of layoffs, offer state employees the option of accepting a pay cut of 7.5 to 10% for those making $50,000 to $100,000; 15% for those making up to $200,000; 20% for salaries of $200,000 to $300,000, and 25% for anyone making more than $300,000. Most employees would opt for a pay cut if it meant saving their jobs but sadly, the present administration has never even considered this option. Legislators would also be required to take a 25% cut. In fact, cut cabinet level salaries altogether;
Sell off all state golf courses. No additional explanation necessary;
Revisit the sacred Homestead Exemption (see? It’s even capitalized.);
Increase tobacco and alcohol taxes to at least the national average. If people are going to kill themselves with their indulgences, at least make ‘em pay for the privilege and make ‘em pay for the use of our charity hospital system when they develop catastrophic illnesses related to their vices;
Pass a constitutional amendment that future budget cuts, when necessary, won’t affect education or health care (someone needs to do this.);
Block computer games and internet access to legislators on Senate and House floors during legislative sessions;
Require all lobbyists to register with the Secretary of State (they already register with the House Speaker, but that’s too close to the center of power) and assess a hefty registration fee for all lobbyists except for non-profits;
Discontinue publishing legislative acts and other legal news in the Baton Rouge newspaper. This practice is cost prohibitive now that we have the free internet;
Enact a tough ethics code with real teeth. Bar any gifts to legislators, including meals, drinks, parties, etc. Any lobbyist violating said act shall be subject to severe fines and shall be barred from all future legislative sessions. Any legislator violating said act shall be subject to heavy fines and forfeiture of legislative pay for duration of his/her term of office.
Consolidate investigative agencies. Louisiana currently has five investigative agencies: the attorney general’s office, the ethics commission, the inspector general, the state police investigation program and the legislative auditor. Total budget for the five agencies: $55 million. Because the present administration has already gutted, stripped, and otherwise neutered the ethics commission. I suggest the state police absorb the auditor’s office, the inspector general, and ethics commission and that any investigations now pending with the latter three agencies be turned over to the state police. You may have noticed that the attorney general was left out of the loop. That’s because the AG is elected and as such, is a politician and not to be trusted with any investigation of state officials.
There you have it: my complete platform. Oh, wait. There is one more: No campaign contributions shall be accepted from any person, organization, foundation, PAC, or lobbyist.
I guess I should go ahead and write my concession speech now.