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Story Archives: It's what the people wanted
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|It's what the people wanted|
While it became apparent about a week ago that Gov. Bobby Jindal would most likely succumb to public pressure and veto a pay raise bill state lawmakers approved for themselves in the regular legislative session, the timing of Jindal's veto was a surprise.
Billed as a news conference where the governor would declare he was striking certain items from the Legislature's supplemental appropriations bill, which lawmakers approved in the Regular Session, too, Jindal dropped a bombshell at his news conference on Monday. The bombshell concerned his decision to veto the pay raise bill because he "clearly made a mistake" when he promised lawmakers he wouldn't meddle in their affairs, or sandbag legislation that would more than double the annual compensation legislators receive for the honor of representing the people. That's exactly what Senate Bill 672 by Sen. Ann Duplessis of New Orleans entailed.
Though Jindal apparently realizes now he made a grave error by not informing his legislative leadership months ago to drop any pretense of entertaining a pay raise measure, at least Jindal acknowledged he made a mistake. That's more than we can say for some lawmakers, who publicly ripped Jindal and accused him of going back on his word. Some of them even suggested the governor could no longer be trusted.
The negative tone some legislators took in denouncing Jindal's decision to veto the pay raise bill told us the lawmakers in question have little respect for the will of the people, or the folks who played a role in convincing Jindal that the public in general was vehemently opposed to the Legislature receiving a pay raise amid an atmosphere of economic uncertainty in Louisiana.
That's a shame.
It's a shame because the lawmakers who appear to be red-hot angry with Jindal over pay raise flap are acting childishly. They also are confirming what many people believe about public officials, meaning there exist a number of people in Louisiana who believe politicians simply want to enrich themselves at the expense of the state, or the taxpayers.
It could be argued, though, that the lawmakers who have exhibited some anger with Jindal over his veto are not necessarily upset with losing the economic benefits they would have gained in light of the pay raises. Instead, legislators probably realize the people will not forget who voted for the pay raise bill when the 2011 elections roll around, or when lawmakers face the electorate again.
In other words, Jindal is to be blamed for the predicament lawmakers find themselves in today. At least that's how it appears some legislators feel.
That's understandable. Remember, Jindal told his legislative leadership early on that he would not stand in the Legislature's way if it was bold enough to pursue an immediate pay hike, which it did.
It's understandable, too, that Jindal changed his mind, or had it changed for him by some very vocal individuals who mobilized in opposition to the pay raises. They got revved up thanks to the editorial writers at The (Baton Rouge) Advocate and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, while the talk radio show community, led by Moon Griffon, weighed in big-time as well. One could argue that Moon, whose talk show is syndicated statewide, had the biggest impact on the pay raise flap of any media outlet in the state.
Yet, with his veto, Jindal set the stage, politically speaking, for the next three and one-half years in Louisiana. He punted that hot potato called a legislative pay raise back to the Legislature where some lawmakers certainly will do their best to make life miserable for the governor, including efforts to thwart any and all major pieces of legislation Jindal sends to the Legislature for consideration.
That would be a shame, too.
But Jindal rest easy now, knowing he did the right thing by vetoing the pay raise bill because that's what the people wanted.
After all, Jindal works for the people, not the Legislature.
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