Legislature goes back to work next week

March 05, 2008 at 1:58 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Gov. Bobby Jindal wonít let the legislature rest. He is calling them into another special session to start Sunday.
Good for him. We have a lot to do in state government. And the governor is letting us know he is not going to wait around to do the things he promised.

This session will deal with spending the $1.1 billion surplus in the state treasury on one-time projects. That means it will not be spent on expenses that recur year after year which would be using future funds we donít have yet and would expand state government.

Jindal wants to spend some $500 million on transportation improvements, including highways and bridges and port facilities. Another $300 million is earmarked for coastal restoration and hurricane protection. We hope most of that will go toward the restoration which is be best kind of hurrican protection we can get.

In fact, we wish most of the surplus would go toward coastal restoration which is our biggest need. It would keep our coastal economy and habitat intact. Without it, our ports would be big losers and we wouldnít have much need for transportation improvements.

The special session will also deal with proposals to lower taxes on businesses to keep them as well as attract new ones. That objective could also be served by preserving and restoring the coast where many of them are located.

CPRA unifies efforts to save our coast

†- - Louisiana must maintain a sense of urgency and it must be done every day, all the time.
- - One of the most important† changes needed to boost our efforts to save the Louisiana coast is to† eliminate the separation between coastal restoration and hurricane protection.

Those were two of the conclusions drawn at the first meeting of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Administration (CPRA) since Bobby Jindal became governor..

CPRA is the new state agency designed to coordinate coastal preservation activities of the federal and state governments and other political subdivisions. It is believed by many that much of the preservation effort was ineffective through lack of such coordination in the past..

Garrett Graves, chairman of the administration, conducted the meeting held February 26 at the Department of Agriculture building at LSU in Baton Rouge.

CPRA will oversee the master plan for coastal restoration adopted by the state legislatue last year. It is geared to keep the state and federal governments on target in efforts to save and restore the coast. The governor has issued an executive order that the actions of all agencies must be consistent with the master plan.

The administration is planning to issue a plan each year for what projects will be pursued that year. It was suggested at the meeting that it also come up with five and ten-year plans to place future projects in order of development to have a look ahead and in case projects on the yearly plans get delayed.

The governorís first few weeks in office seem to be on the right track insofar as pursuing efforts to restore our coast. It should be the most important function of our state government at the present time.

View other articles written Allen Lottinger

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