Posts Tagged ‘Governor’

But I see your true colors
Shining through;
I see your true colors…

—True Colors
(Lyrics by Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly)

Whether you prefer the Cyndi Lauper or Phil Collins version, nothing more aptly—or more shamelessly—describes the sinister motives of Gov. Piyush Jindal in vetoing four legislative bills than the first three lines of this song.

It seems rather curious that Jindal, such an avowed advocate of openness, would veto SB 629 by Sen. Ronnie Johns (R-Lake Charles) that would have required increased accountability from the state’s Bayou Health and Behavioral Health Partnership programs.

Of course, it might be more easily understood when we learn that Bayou Health contributed $10,000 to Jindal’s gubernatorial campaigns – $5,000 in 2003 and another $5,000 in 2009.

It would also appear rather disingenuous for the governor to veto a bill calling for the convening of a task force to study wage disparities between men and women in the public sector.

But it is simply unconscionable for a governor who purports to support transparency and accountability to veto HB 1104 that would have done just that.

It likewise is two-faced, duplicitous and smacks of a blatant double standard for Jindal to veto HB 1106. The bill, after all, provided for tax rebates, something we thought equated to an economic Holy Grail in the eyes of this governor.

But I see your true colors
Shining through;
I see your true colors…

Both HB 1104 and HB 1106 were authored by State Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe).

Both bills, by themselves, did far more for transparency, accountability and even-handedness than everything Jindal has done in his entire four-plus years in office.

Both bills were passed unanimously by the House, both by votes of 96-0 with nine absences.

Not voting on HB 1104 were Speaker Chuck Kleckley (R-Lake Charles), Jerry Gisclair (D-Larose), Hunter Greene (R-Baton Rouge), Bob Hensgens (R-Abbeville), Bernard LeBas (D-Ville Platte), Joseph Lopinto, III (R-Metairie), Harold Ritchie (D-Bogalusa), Joel Robideaux (R-Lafayette) and Patricia Smith (D-Baton Rouge).

Those absent for the vote on HB 1106 were Jared Brossett (D-New Orleans), Gordon Dove (R-Houma), Brett Geymann (R-Lake Charles), Gisclair, James Morris (R-Oil City), Kevin Pearson (R-Slidell), John Schroder (R-Covington), Scott Simon (R-Abita Springs) and Kirk Talbot (R-River Ridge).

HB 1104 also passed unanimously in the Senate (35-0 with four absentees) and only four senators voted against HB 1106. Absent on the HB 1104 vote were Sens. Jack Donahue (R-Mandeville), Jean-Paul Morrell (D-New Orleans), Ben Nevers (D-Bogalusa) and Mike Walsworth (R-West Monroe).

Voting against HB 1106 in the Senate were Robert Adley (R-Benton), Conrad Appel (R-Metairie), Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge) and Donahue. Absent were Jody Amedee (R-Gonzales) and Barrow Peacock (R-Bossier City).

All four were good bills.

All four were vetoed by Piyush “I have the job I want” Jindal.

But I see your true colors
Shining through;
I see your true colors…

HB 1104 would have required that state agencies which administer tax credits, exemptions and rebates to report certain information needed by the Legislative Auditor’s Office in determining whether each tax credit, exemption or rebate was “effectuating the purpose they were enacted to achieve.”

“More than half of Louisiana’s (annual) revenue is expended to pay for these credits, rebates and exemption,” Jackson said after being informed of the vetoes. “It is important that we review them to determine whether the state is truly benefitting.”

Louisiana has granted more than $18 billion in corporate tax exemptions over the past four years, according to information obtained from state records. Jackson said she is attempting to ensure that the state is getting its money’s worth in jobs and economic development.

Jindal disagreed.

But I see your true colors
Shining through;
I see your true colors…

HB 1106 would have allowed taxpayers who donate to public schools to receive tax rebates.

“This bill supports public schools and has a $10 million statewide cap,” Jackson said of her bill.

After being amended in committee, the bill would have offered the following tax rebates for those who donated to public schools for the purpose of tutorial, curriculum, books, technology, Saturday school, etc.:

• 25 percent tax rebate for donations to a “C” school;

• 50 percent tax rebate for donations to a “D” school;

• 75 percent tax rebate for donations to an “F” school.

“The only bill that sits on the governor’s desk which truly helps our public schools to receive much-needed resources will not see the light of day,” Jackson said. “This is truly a blow to public education.”

The veto obviously discourages donations to public schools in favor of their non-public counterparts and comes on top of requirements that local school superintendents now must answer directly to Baton Rouge instead of their local school boards that hired them. It also is the equivalent to piling on in that local school funds under the state’s Minimum Foundation Program, a formula used to provide state funding to local school systems, can be diverted to benefit students transferring to charter schools—even if the charter schools are in another parish.

So, not only does Jindal’s American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-inspired educational reform legislation dilute local financial support of public schools, any attempt by individuals or corporations to assist struggling public schools is now officially discouraged by this administration.

One reader wrote of HB 1106: “If anyone ever questioned that Gov. Jindal is placing non-public schools over public schools, and treating them inequitably, his punitive legislation during the session, followed by this veto, is the final straw.

“According to Jindal, rebates to non-public schools are o.k. as passed by the legislature but rebates to public schools are vetoed ‘because there’s no provision in state budget for rebates.’”

Apparently, however, when it comes to non-public schools, there is a provision in the state budget for rebates.

“Shame on our governor for such a petty, discriminatory, embarrassing action,” the reader wrote.

It remains to be seen if the legislature has the courage to override the vetoes of Jackson’s bills.

If history is any indication, it won’t happen. One need look no further back than 2011 when the legislature approved a renewal of the cigarette tax only to have Jindal veto it because he was opposed to “new” taxes. While it is still a mystery how he could consider a tax renewal as a “new” tax, the legislature cratered, folded like a cheap suit, in its attempt to override Piyush’s veto.

But I see your true colors
Shining through;
I see your true colors…

Senate Bill 577 by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) would have established the Louisiana Equal Pay Task Force to study and make recommendations relating to equal pay for women in the public sector in Louisiana.

It, too, passed unanimously in the Senate with only six absences—Appel, Norby Chabert (R-Houma), Peacock, Jonathan Perry (R-Kaplan), Greg Tarver (D-Shreveport) and Walsworth.

SB 577 passed in the House by a 71-17 vote.

The 17 voting against the measure in the House, all Republicans, included Reps. Stuart Bishop (R-Lafayette), Richard Burford (R-Stonewall), Raymond Garofalo, Jr. (R-Chalmette), Geymann, Greene, Kenneth Havard (R-Jackson), Lowell Hazel (R-Pineville), Cameron Henry (R-Metairie), Hensgens, Anthony Ligi, Jr. (R-Metairie), Lopinto, Nick Lorusso (R-New Orleans), John Morris (R-Monroe), James Morris, Steve Pylant (R-Winnsboro), Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport), and Talbot.

Which begs the question of why any female voter could, in good conscience, ever support Piyush Jindal or any of the Misogynistic Seventeen for even the most menial public office.

But I see your true colors
Shining through;
I see your true colors…


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