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Setting the record straight

C.B. Forgotston -   Feb 16, 2012

This is an on-going effort to assist a project initiated by Team Jindal to make sure the facts are presented to the citizens of Louisiana.

What Team Jindal said: "Thereís no cut [to the colleges]. Theyíre fully funded," the governorís chief of staff, Stephen Waguespack, saidÖ." Baton Rouge Advocate February 9, 2012.

The Facts: College funding was reduced in Bobby Jindalís budget that was presented to the leges on February 9, 2012. In claiming the colleges are fully funded, his budget assumes facts not in evidence.

The difference between what the colleges received this year and what they will receive in the upcoming fiscal year requires the colleges to increase taxes on the students and their families.

In other words, if the college boards do not raise tuition or fees, they will have less state money to spend in the coming year than they currently have.

To paraphrase Edmund Burke: I do not impute falsehood to Team Jindal, but there has been a considerable economy of truth.

Jindal plan creates uproar

Many public employees and leges in Louisiana are in an uproar over the "Roads Scholarís" plan to increase the employee contribution to the stateís pension plan.

The taxpayers already pony up a significant contribution on behalf of the state and local employees.

When a similar increase in pension contribution last came before the House of Representatives it was shot down by a ruling from then-Speaker Jim Tucker.

Tucker declared the increase a "tax" and thus required by the state constitution to have a 2/3ís vote of both the lege bodies in order to pass.

There has been recent speculation that new Speaker Chuck Kleckley will rule that the contribution increase is not a tax or fee and only requires a majority vote.

Frankly, I donít know what the contribution increase is, but it should not be a matter of conjecture or political rhetoric.

The definition of what the increase in contribution is of great importance to everyone in Louisiana.

If it is raised it will mean more money is taken from the public employees paychecks. If it is not raised it means all of the citizens in Louisiana will have less of the essential government services or higher taxes.

The leges need to ask their excellent staff to thoroughly research the matter and give them, their fellow public employees and the citizens of Louisiana an answer.

The staffís conclusion doesnít mean that the leges will follow the law. They often donít.

Itís simply time for all of us to get an answer.

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