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Blanco budget blather erroneous, unconvincing

If Gov. Kathleen Blanco ever taught English composition before her political career, it doesn’t show in her latest press release defending her budget now in front of the Legislature. This document shows she clearly doesn’t know what words mean and she uses them in ways that don’t support her attempted message.

Take the word “significant,” where she argues “I have asked the Legislature to adopt significant tax relief for our citizens.” While her roughly $150 million in proposed tax cuts, many not directly to citizens, could sound like a lot, it represents barely more than a half percent of the entire budget – insignificant.

How about the word “balanced,” where she states “I believe the people deserve a balanced package that includes the tax relief we all want, while making the bold investments that will lift up Louisiana.” But the portion of tax cuts in her budget represented less than 5 percent of the overall surplus, and the new recurring commitments are about a third of that total – terribly imbalanced on the spending side.

Or the word “investment,” which Blanco uses to buttress her “balanced” claim in referring to the free spending of her budget, lumping both one-time and recurring expenditures as “investments.” Some of those, especially of the one-time variety such as transportation needs, you could call “investments” because they have a good chance of producing long-term beneficial results (with the notable exception of funds to attract jobs). But other, mainly recurring, expenses such as creation of a thousand or so new jobs in a state whose population is shrinking and giving raises to them and to public school teachers without any individual accountability just throws good money after bad.

One additional demonstration that casts doubt on whether Blanco even understands what she writes is her passage “These investments will allow us to provide even greater tax relief in the future, as we decrease dependency on state programs and increase the quality of life for all of our citizens.” In other words, she asserts that the state has to spend first and therefore be the engine of economic growth in order for the citizens to have their monies returned to them only sometime down the road.

This simply is ludicrous and reflective of her core liberalism. People, not government, drive economic growth so the more money that they can keep the more reliably produced is that growth, so tax cuts must come prior. Further, she is entirely oblivious to the fact that her desire to make large increases in recurring expenditures in many cases will increase dependency not so directly on state programs, but the state itself, an inefficient use of resources that will sap growth.

Let’s put it this way, if Blanco decides to launch a post-political career as an investment adviser who will “invest” your money in a “balanced” way to give you “significant” returns sometime down the road, don’t walk away from her, run.

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