St. Charles Herald-Guide

Rainwater doesn’t understand his job

By C.B. Forgotston - May 27, 2011

The Associated Press’s Melinda Deslatte wrote a column about the scare tactics being used by Commissioner of Administration (“COA”) Paul Rainwater and other state agency heads as a result of the actions of the House Appropriations Committee.

Rainwater said: “What they chose to do is irresponsible. It’s ridiculous….”


Apparently, Rainwater doesn’t understand his job.


LA R.S. 39:6 sets forth his duties. His job when it comes to the leges is to “advise and assist … the committees of the legislature in their consideration of budget matters.”


Rainwater’s job is NOT to dictate policy to the leges or to create “boogie men” to frighten the leges into doing what he wants done with our money.

Gov’s responsibility
At best, Rainwater’s job is to submit, on behalf of the governor, the budget to the leges. (LA Const. Article IV, Section 5(D))


The governor, not Rainwater, has veto and line-item veto power over the budget that is ultimately approved by the leges.

Leges’ responsibility
Constitutionally, (the people’s document) the leges have the ultimate authority over the budget. They are supposed to exercise that authority in consultation with their constituents who they represent.


There is nothing in the law to prevent the leges from accepting from the governor a budget, tossing it in the trash can, introducing and voting on their own budget. In some states, with independent leges, that is actually what happens.

Rainwater’s job
Rainwater’s job is that of any appointed public servant; to do the job for which he was hired.


The COA job is a functionary to implement policy set by the governor and the leges.


It’s time for Rainwater to learn his job and do it.


Rainwater’s job is to take whatever the leges give him in the budget and make it work for the benefit of the people of Louisiana.