Put another way, there isn’t a single student in jeopardy of losing their TOPS scholarship or a single disabled child at risk of losing their NOW waiver because the state constructed a statue in front of a hospital. They come from two different pots of money, and it’s against the law to use one-time construction money- or capital money- to pay for recurring and operational expenses. “The government can afford to build practically anything,” a friend of mine who is an expert in the subject once explained, somewhat hyperbolically. “The problem is the government can barely afford to operate anything.” It’s a lesson Treasurer Kennedy should consider taking under advisement.Remarkable that the multi-term state treasurer would be so clueless as to how the state is, you know, treasuried. Almost unbelievable, really.
There's a lot more to Lamar's article. It actually reads like a State of the State political memo. I especially liked the part where he pivots attention to Republicans in the legislature. If there's any progress to be made in the next budgetary session, it's important to understand how dug in they've become.
Republicans in the state legislature, on the other hand, have outsourced their jobs to national organizations like ALEC, lobbying groups like LABI, the Louisiana Family Forum, and LOGA, and signed pledges by people like Grover Norquist. These are not leaders who are serious about doing their jobs. They’re more worried about their rankings on some right-wing organization’s scorecard than doing the business of the people. And if the disarray we all witnessed during the Special Session is any indication, they suffer from institutional incompetence borne out of laziness and a misplaced sense of pride. But they have very little to be proud of. If anything, they should be ashamed.But they're not ashamed. From they're point of view they're being responsive to their true constituency.
In a blog post yesterday, Stephanie Grace suggested Republicans attempting to raise money on the strength of their anti-tax positions should be wary of a recent UNO survey showing voters don't currently blame Governor Edwards for the budget crisis. But the surveyed voters aren't who the Republicans are concerned about at the moment. The money they're trying to raise comes from the state and national interest groups Lamar catalogs above.
As for the governor's approval rating, well, as long as they keep backing him into a corner, he'll have to keep taking on responsibility for unpopular cuts like these. And if that happens enough times, those survey numbers could look very different by the time everyone faces the voters again.