Despite the griping, coming largely from the usual suspects of the past three years, guess what, the fiscal year 2011-12 budget laid down by Gov. Bobby Jindal largely will be the one that comes forth as Act 11 of the 2011 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature at session’s end and may hasten the demise of the populist persuasion that has held back the state.
A few minor alterations may crop up. Perhaps most likely not to make it into the final version of this year’s HB 1 is sales of prisons, hoping to generate about $86 million, even as that move makes economic sense. Problematically, too many legislators see prisons more as job providers for which they can take credit for reelection purposes than as correctional facilities, demonstrated by comments made by state Sen. Eric LaFleur to a rally against privatization (ironically, some attendees of which were not state employees but already are employed by private concerns to run state prisons) where he expressed concern that the number of jobs would decrease as a result of the sales – while questions of increased effectiveness and efficiency and greater savings merited none of his attention.
Also of some concern was dependence on a proposed constitutional amendment to provide $92 million more to fund the Taylor Opportunity Program for Scholars.