Flying under the radar, until the results were made public last week, was a report requested by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor to assess costs associated with the implementation of retirement system reforms promoted by Gov. Bobby Jindal. While it did not shed much light on the final determination of legal issues involved, it made clear the political issue.
It’s important to understand what the report, rendered by an out-of-state law firm, was intended to do and what it does not say. As, constitutionally, notes must be produced for legislation the fiscal impact of which may be more than a (relatively) small amount, part of the potential cost could be legal challenges. Already, opponents and special interests have indicated this would be a consideration in their reaction to the legislation, potentially adding millions of dollars to the cost (although, in the larger scheme of things, the changes would save taxpayers hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times that cost).
As the report itself indicates, its job was to assess the likelihood of legal challenges to these bills if becoming law, not the constitutionality or legality of them. And nowhere in it does it say it builds, according to the Louisiana Constitution in the context of existing Louisiana jurisprudence, any kind of compelling case that these laws would not be constitutional. Indeed, there is not a single remark in it that suggests the bills would be contrary to established Louisiana case law.