A Louisiana judge won’t stop the state’s controversial school voucher system from going into effect next month. District Judge Tim Kelley ruled that he did not have jurisdiction to provide the injunction sought by the voucher program’s opponents, citing a Louisiana law prohibiting injunctions that state officials claim will create a deficit.
Superintendent John White and Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater made just such a claim, saying that enacting an injunction on the voucher program, for which 8,000 students have already applied, would lead to a $3.4 billion hole in the state’s education budget.
The figure stems from the $3.4 billion Louisiana currently spends on state aid for school operations via the Minimum Foundation Program. Jimmy Faircloth, who represented the state during Tuesday’s hearing, said it was “unavoidable and factually inescapable” that the proposed injunction would lead to the ten-figure deficit. “It’s just indisputable,” he said, according to Baton Rouge newspaper The Advocate.
However, as Brian Blackwell, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said, “That’s just kind of crazy. … There’s no way that not spending money can cause a deficit. When you don’t fund something, you can’t have a deficit. There’s no deficit if you can’t spend.” Blackwell pointed out that the funds have already been sent to the Department of Education and that an injunction would merely prevent the money from being distributed.
Link via CenLamar where Lamar points out that John White is compounding his bullshit about the operating deficit by also flat out lying about what the court ruling here was even about.
So while John White claims victory and suggests that Wednesday’s decision validates his position, the truth is that the Louisiana Supreme Court never ruled on the merits or the fact of this case. They’ve merely accepted Superintendent White’s sworn testimony. I hope readers understand the distinctions here, because the positions taken by both Jindal and White are obviously dishonest: There is no conceivable way that an injunction against the voucher program would result in deficit spending. The voucher program, by definition, is concerned with giving away taxpayer dollars, and most assuredly not about generating revenue for the Louisiana Department of Education.