The editorial in a Baton Rouge newspaper is so cynical that it would make a world-class cynic look like a Pollyanna.
In summary, the paper opines that State Treasurer John Kennedy’s efforts to collect money owed the taxpayers of our state is a waste of time. It is nothing, but an effort to bring attention to himself.
Alas, getting any money back will be basically fruitless, as the purpose of the appropriations and slush funds was to spend money. We’re quite sure the money was spent.
Not only is that over-the-top cynical, but shows a lack of knowledge of state law. Many of these groups have physical assets that can be seized and sold.
Additionally, it fails to recognize the teeth in the new debt collection law authored by Rep. Chris Broadwater and pushed by Kennedy during the 2013 Regular Session. Under the new law, debtors will no longer be able to do business with the state, cannot get driver’s licenses, hunting and fishing licenses, have plans approved by the Fire Marshal’s Office, etc.
Gov. Bobby Jindal, though he funded many of the grants to the tune of more than $9 million early in his first term, put in place some restrictions that gave some disclosure and auditing requirements for political NGOs.
This gives the impression that NGOs have been reduced in Jindal’s second term. Nothing could be further from the truth. The navel-gazers at The Advocate only need to take a look at the Capital Outlay Budgets (HB2) for the 2012 and 2013 Regular Session to find millions of dollars going to NGOs among which is the Junior League of New Orleans. There’s many more buried in the current State Operating Budget.
NGOs are nothing, but lege vote-buying by the governor. I’ve written about this matter for years. However, until Kennedy took up the cause, the public was largely unaware. Now, the public is hopping mad to find out this money was taken from health care and higher education to fund these pay-offs. As a result, the citizens are putting pressure on the leges to stop the waste.
The Advocate’s message to the NGOs is: Get the money and spend it quickly so there’ll be no repercussions.The Advocate, instead of denigrating Kennedy’s efforts, should be demanding that the Jindal Administration use everything in its power to collect the funds owed us.
Additionally, they should demand that this misuse of public funds stop “cold turkey,” especially when we have so many state needs going wanting.
Kudos to John Kennedy for standing up for the taxpayers and for fiscal sanity.