Monday, June 15, 2009

Governor Jindal Ready to Apply his Veto Pen to the State’s Spending Plan-By Robyn Ekings

Governor Bobby Jindal announced today (June 15th) that he will veto items in Louisiana’s spending plan for 2009-10 that are based on money not yet approved by lawmakers, including a controversial plan to delay a planned reduction in state income taxes. HB 1 was sent to the governor over the weekend out of balance following a dispute between the House and Senate over how to fund the budget in the face of sharp declines in revenue. Governor Jindal says he’s making his decision to reshape the budget with his veto pen to give lawmakers time to find a way to resolve funding issues and reduce proposed cuts to higher education.

The governor has been strongly opposed to several revenue raising measures, including a bill that would postpone income tax reductions called for under a repeal of the so-called Stelly Tax Plan. Legislators approved the measure last year when the state was facing better economic times. He adds that the spending included in HB 1 that is contingent on that bill passing the legislature will be vetoed along with provisions tapping into the state’s Rainy Day Trust fund and another specially dedicated funding source.

In the remaining days of the session, which must end June 25th, Governor Jindal says he will try to persuade lawmakers to use other measures, still under consideration at the Capitol, to reduce the amount of cuts to higher education from $219 million, approximately 15% to about $149 million or just below 10%. “We believe we’re making it easier to provide higher education funding,” Jindal told reporters, renewing his pledge to oppose what he considers to be tax increases.

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