BATON ROUGE – Facing a looming deadline to finally begin addressing the $1.6 billion GOP budget disaster, today Republican leadership in the state legislature lurched through a patchwork of bills and tax measures that fell far short of solving anything. Even at this late hour, with thirty-five days left in the session and Monday’s budget deadline bearing down, the top-ranking Republicans have offered no coherent plan to address this crisis. Their haphazard, last-minute Frankenstein of revenue measures amounted to barely $664 million, and is utterly inadequate to the scale of the need their failed policies have created.
The Louisiana state legislature continues to struggle beneath the weight of a crisis of leadership, a rudderless and directionless state GOP left floundering in the wake of ruinous, short-term financial decisions made in the service of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s vanity. From Jindal down to Speaker of the House Chuck Kleckley, the Republican lawmakers with an iron grip on the levers of power in the Capitol have failed the test of leadership and refused to offer any semblance of a plan to responsibly address the deficit nightmare created by their financial mismanagement.
“The failure in the House to pull together nearly one billion dollars in revenue in one frantic session is hardly a surprise,” said Stephen Handwerk, executive director of the Louisiana Democratic Party. “Since the legislature gaveled into session, the GOP leadership has refused to lead and been unable to offer a roadmap out of the mess their policies created. Instead, they’ve chosen to waste their time and our money denying women equal pay for equal work and attacking our vital tourism industry.”