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|Jindal needs to get his hands dirty|
Judging by the comments a friend pointedly delivered about the opinion that was offered in this space a week ago, it would be within reason to suggest at least one member of the Jindal administration feels there exist some members of the media who want the governor to fail.
That's far from true in this corner.
Instead, Jindal -- for the most part -- is still enjoying a love fest, if you will, with scores of Louisianians, including many reporters and editorial writers. There are exceptions, or members of the media who aren't enamored with Jindal. That's partly the case because some members of the governor's staff have yet to learn how to work with in-the-field reporters who have covered Louisiana politics for years. A veteran member of the media doesn't appreciate a lecture. Instead, it's resented.
It's obvious, too, when an editorial writer goes out of his or her way to praise our young governor. Describing budget cuts as "nice" is a suck-up in any manner in which it's written. It also could suggest an editorial writer is bucking for a state job or is already collecting a paycheck from the state in some form or fashion. A conflict of interest comes to mind.
Truth be told, though, Jindal needs to be reminded from time to time that his national political ambitions should be placed on a backburner as long as the state is facing a $2 billion budget shortfall for the 2009-10 fiscal year, which begins July 1. It's a $2 billion headache, which Jindal certainly is capable of handling if state lawmakers will set aside their bitterness toward the governor over his veto of a legislative pay raise bill following the 2008 regular legislative session. Holding grudges accomplishes nothing.
In the meantime, Jindal would score big-time politically if he would do the right thing by calling upon the Legislature to revisit the so-called income tax cuts lawmakers approved in the '08 Regular Session. A roll back in the income tax hikes the "Stelly Plan" ushered onto the scene earlier this decade haven't panned out thanks to an administration-backed amendment by House Speaker Jim Tucker. Tacked onto the income tax cut bill at the last minute, the Tucker amendment made it impossible for the people to get some relief on the tax front until after July 1. Even after July 1, individuals who may be looking for a reduction in the amount of money that's held out of their paychecks will discover a convoluted process that must be conquered to receive the tax cuts, a process that was intended to thwart people from keeping more of their own money.
In short, that god-awful "Stelly Plan" should be put out of its misery, and the people should be immediately granted the income tax cuts they were promised.
Yet, Jindal should be recognized for doing what no governor has done in Louisiana in decades. He's given people hope for a better and brighter tomorrow. Those town hall meetings, which the governor has held all over the state, have played a major role in that regard. Scores of people across the state have never met a governor. Jindal changed that, and he's benefiting from it politically, too.
It goes without saying, however, that Jindal and his closest advisors probably discovered it's much tougher to govern than it was to campaign for the job Jindal holds today, though it could be argued Jindal began campaigning for re-election before he took the oath of office to begin his first term.
That's neither here nor there.
The long and short of it is Jindal is an extremely intelligent and talented young man who could dramatically change Louisiana forever. He can do it if he'll stay focused and do what he promised the people he would do if he was elected governor.
Jindal knows what those promises entailed.
And that begs a question.
Is Jindal willing to get his hands dirty to get the job done?
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