Jindal: Louisiana’s way differs from Washington’s

By Bill Sumrall
The Light

Louisiana will conduct government business its way, not Washington D.C.’s way, Gov. Bobby Jindal told Alexandria business leaders Wednesday, March 17.

The governor spoke to members of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce at the Sai Convention Center on 2301 N. MacArthur Drive in Alexandria.

“If we can be number one in football, we can be number one in health care, we can be number one in education, we can be number one in economic development,” Jindal said.

“We overcame the odds. Just like the Saints beat teams that were supposed to be favorite and were supposed to do better than them, even though the analysts and the experts didn’t pick them to win, they showed by hard work and perseverance, they could prove everybody else wrong. That is the message for Louisiana,” Jindal said.

“We’ve come a long way in two years, we’ve got a lot more work to do. As long as I’m your governor, we’ll keep going down the Louisiana way, not the Washington way, so that one day the governors of Texas and Georgia will be complaining to us why their kids are moving to Louisiana instead of us worrying about our kids moving to those states,” Jindal said.

At the start of his remarks, Jindal called for a moment of silence for the late Buddy Tudor and his family and afterward paid tribute to Tudor as “a leader not only for Central Louisiana but this entire state.”

“I know many of us know him by the many development projects and the many permanent changes he made to the city’s skyline and landscape,” Jindal said.

“The reality is, he touched many more people than his buildings and his commercial investments ever did, and I know that we’re saddened by his loss. We send our prayers and thoughts to his families,” Jindal said.

Earlier, Elton Pody, the Chamber’s executive vice president, announced the governor had agreed to expedite his remarks so that many in the audience could attend a 1 p.m. funeral ceremony for Tudor, whom Pody called “one of our real leaders in the community.”

In his remarks, Jindal recalled his recent visit to the national governors’ conference in Washington D.C. and his impressions of the U.S. Capitol and our nation’s leaders.

“Well, it’s pretty simple. I can summarize it in one sentence: they just don’t get it,” Jindal said.

“I don’t care if you’re Democrat or Republican or Independent, they just don’t get it,” the governor said.

Jindal explained that, while the nation’s attention is on “jobs, jobs, jobs,” in Washington, “they’re spending, spending, spending.”

“It’s the only city in America — it’s the only city in the world — where they think we’re going to tax, spend and borrow our way back into prosperity,” Jindal said.

Congress recently voted to increase the nation’s debt ceiling to more than $14 trillion, Jindal said.

“For every single person in this room, that’s $45,000 of debt in your name,” Jindal said. “That’s $100,000 for every American family. But it gets worse. That’s going to almost double by the end of this decade to $26 trillion.”

Jindal said continued printing and borrowing money from China will increase interest and inflation rates and decrease the value of the dollar.

“They’re spending our children’s money and our grandchildren’s money. Make no mistake about it, that’s what at stake here. Every generation of Americans before us, including us, has always inherited more opportunities than the previous generation had,” Jindal said.

“We must not become the first generation of Americans that leaves fewer opportunities to our children than what we inherited from our own parents,” Jindal said.

Jindal said the state of Louisiana has taken a different route. “In Baton Rouge, we’ve said we’re going tighten our belt, we’ve got to do more with less,” the governor said.

Federal, state and local government officials face a basic fundamental decision in the midst of the national recession — whether to shift the financial burden to its citizens or make the tough decision to cut their own budgets, Jindal said.

“As long as I’m your governor, we’re not going to raise taxes in Louisiana. That would be the worst thing we could do to solve the challenges we face,” Jindal said, as audience members applauded.

Jindal recounted accomplishments during his term, listed examples of how well the state has weathered the economic recession thus far, then cited challenges ahead for the upcoming Legislative session.

Jindal cited two federal decisions that will affect Louisiana:

(1) starting July 1, the state will lose $200 million a year in federal health care financing, including for the state’s LSU charity hospitals, including Huey P. Long Medical Center in Pineville, rural hospitals and mental health facilities, including Central Louisiana State Hospital in Pineville; and

(2) in a few more months, the state will lose another $500 million in federal health care financing because of insurance and Road Home monies advanced to the state to deal with the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Jindal said he’s submitted a balanced budget for the upcoming Legislative session “that replaces dollar for dollar every federal dollar that was cut” for health care at the state’s charity, rural and mental health hospitals.

“We’ve submitted a budget that doesn’t impose any additional cuts to our higher education campuses, including LSUA, Northwestern or our community and technical colleges … and we’ve done all of that without raising taxes,” Jindal said.

However, the state will have to do more with less money as the budget submitted is 18 percent lower than last year’s budget, or $5 billion smaller, Jindal said.

“I’m proud of the fact that in this budget, Pinecrest stays open. In this budget, LSUA remains as a four-year university. In this budget, Central (Louisiana State Hospital) stays open,” Jindal said.

The governor also cited two educational proposals, the Red Tape Reduction Act and the Louisiana Grad Act, which expect better performance from universities and K-12 schools for more flexibility.

In addition, Jindal highlighted a $25 million investment by Proctor & Gamble which created 25 new jobs for a new form of its Tide detergent.

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