Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jindal slashes $16 million from state budget

Gov. Bobby Jindal stripped more than $16 million in legislative pet projects from this year's budget, including funds for a balloon festival, playground equipment, museums, the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and nongovernmental organizations favored by legislators.

The 258 vetoes in House Bill 1, the state's nearly $30 billion operating budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year, is more than double the combined number of line-item vetoes in the past 12 years. Coupled with Jindal's veto of $9.3 million in spending from a previous budget bill, they suggest the new governor is serious about curbing a cherished legislative tradition of sprinkling the budget with items for constituents, often with little or no oversight.

Jindal said the cuts are in keeping with promises he made as a candidate and an April 30 letter he sent to lawmakers outlining new criteria for steering state money to "non-governmental entities." In that letter, Jindal said he would veto any such spending that has not been publicly vetted and does not have a substantial statewide or regional impact.

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