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15.12.08

Months later, wisdom of line item vetoes confirmed

Much wailing and gnashing of teeth occurred this summer when Gov. Bobby Jindal did what he said he would, cut down on state government money going to private interests. He employed his line item veto to excise around $16 million going to 258 nonprofit organizations, and some legislators who had one or more such entities in their districts made disapproving noises about how crippling the lack of funds would be for the organizations.

But Jindal and supporters of these moves pointed out that if these truly were desirable functions being performed, other sources of money would compensate for the loss of state funds, or the organizations would find more efficient ways of doing these things, or government formally would oversee the function. Almost six months later, this is exactly what has happened as opposed to the apocalyptic scenarios some legislators asserted would be the outcome.

Some organizations did find other philanthropic sources. Others relied more heavily on volunteers. Still others found ways to work more efficiently. Many had to cut back services to some degree, but that only demonstrates that perhaps they was an oversupply of that service to begin with or a more efficient way or alternative funding sources could not be found. In all, this demonstrates that government money was not being used as optimally as it should have been, as these other solutions and resolutions existed but had not been implemented precisely because of the free flow of money from government.

This disposition also points out why the system has existed so long, not because it is a good use of taxpayers’ monies, but because it suited the political needs of politicians. Legislators could promise money to these organizations, the members of which no doubt would work for that legislator’s reelection and sing that person’s praises. The governor could use line item veto threats of these kinds of projects to entice legislators to support his initiatives.

By taking the issue off the table, however, these political dynamics no longer apply. It was a bold move by Jindal, unilaterally surrendering this tool of power, but he did so and by his continuing to enforce this standard, the state will be better off.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course the Stadium and Exposition Board composed primarily of large contributors to the Governor's campaign got $45 million, about 3 times the total of all of the line item vetoes, in money to buy a vacant, privately owned commercial building in New Orleans. The State has no real plans for the building.

I feel quite sure given the soft commerical real estate market in New Orleans that the seller is very
pleased and will no doubt support the Governor in all his political endeavors.

Yes change is certainly hard to recognize in Louisiana. Even our talented college professors have difficulty.

Anonymous said...

Admittedly it is difficult to follow the shell games that all politicians play...and at which Jindal being so smart at everything else is undoubtedly also very smart at, and Mr. Sadow along with all of us needs to be as observant as we possibly can. But please never assume that intelligence and honesty go hand in hand…

T. Wong said...

The line item veto seems like a good idea. Let's give one to Obama.

Anonymous said...

A Line Item Veto for the President of the United States? That would require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution which must be passed by a vote of two-thirds of the House and the Senate. Do you think the Congress would make it easier for the President to veto something they want? I don't believe so.

James Sanders said...

The gov only made a start last year by a veto of only a third of the slush funds. Hopefully he'll complete the job while cutting higher education during the current difficulties.

Anonymous said...

It was a dubious nod to his career to line item out $16 million.

Truth of the matter as the other posted suggested he spent lots on money on his buddies. Moret for example and the $45,000,000.00 on buddies of his contributors with a piece of bad real estate in New Orleans.

Harkens to EWE days doesn't it??

I am ashamed I voted for him. He campaigns for the next job while all the time the state is getting in worse financial shape.

Sadow is his biggest cheerleader all the time touting these little deals while ignoring his HUGE shortcomings.

BTW--has anyone actually seen an ethics reporting form for the hundreds of people that are now required to file one with the state??? I haven't gotten one yet.