Monkey See, Monkey Do

One of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s more bizarre plans to raise money to help meet Louisiana’s deadhead payroll is to sell off taxpayer assets for immediate cash.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposal to sell some state-owned assets meets resistance

State Treasurer John Kennedy had it pegged from the get-go.

“A junkie can go sell his television and sell the radio and pay for a fix,” Kennedy said. “But sooner or later … he’s got to face his addiction. I would prefer to have us face our addiction.”

It seems Jindal isn’t the only governor that thinks selling taxpayer assets is a good idea. See today’s The New York Times.

State Poised to Sell Trophy Buildings to Unidentified Investors

As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger prepares to decamp from Sacramento on Jan. 3, he has displayed zealous determination to complete what critics say will be among the worst deals the state has ever made: the sale of 11 premier state office complexes to a group of politically connected private investors.

The deal, which includes the San Francisco Civic Center, has been pitched as a way to generate much-needed cash. California would pocket about $1.3 billion after debt is paid off, but would then be a tenant in the same buildings. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the deal would cost taxpayers $6 billion over 35 years.

4 Responses to “Monkey See, Monkey Do”

  1. azspeak@cox.net Says:

    I’m not sure just what you mean by deadhead payroll. If you’d said bloated cabinet-level salaries, you may have been more on-target. But as for those “deadhead” state employees, these people are your relatives, your neighbors, and your friends. Like you, they work for their paychecks which, by the way, are across the board lower than private sector paychecks for comparable jobs. People like to carp about state workers’ cushy benefits and they do have good leave benefits, good medical benefits, and good retirement benefits. But it’s a trade-off for the lower salaries (except, of course, for political appointees). State employees once thought they had job security but thanks to this governor, that’s out the window.

    One legislator, Rep. John Schroeder, even introduced bills last session to abolish Civil Service altogether. Now that’s a bright idea! Civil Service employees are forbidden to participate in political campaigns and that’s the way it should be. Civil Service was created to protect public employees from being fired at the whim of a politician. It was supposed to do away with political patronage and now Jindal, through Schroeder, is trying to do the same thing Earl Long did when he followed Sam Jones into the governor’s office: abolish the one protection state employees have.

    If you think state employees are lazy and are “deadheads,” go on and let Jindal gut the workforce. Then see how long you have to wait for your state income tax return. See how much longer you have to wait to renew your driver’s license. See how much longer you have to wait for medical care at any of our state hospitals. And just pray there is a sufficient number of guards at our prisons. Enjoy your ride over state highways in desperate need of repair because there are fewer highway workers. Enjoy your visit to a state park when no one is there to open it for you. And if you have trouble launching your boat at a state-run boat dock because it’s in need of repair, be sure to thank Jindal. When you’re nearly run over by a drunk driver or find it impossible to evacuate because of some disaster because there are no state police around to patrol the highways or to direct traffic, remember whose idea it was to cut the number of employees.

    When your child can’t get into college because (a) professor layoffs make it impossible to get the class he/she wants or (b) budget cuts have eliminated the programs he/she wants to study, smile when you write a much larger check for out-of-state tuition so your kid can enroll elsewhere.

    Perhaps you can complain to the state cabinet secretary at your university football game–that is, if you can somehow talk your way past security to get into his luxury box where he’ll most probably be hosting some high-rolling campaign contributor.

    • Walter Abbott Says:

      If we were in charge, we would start this afternoon with consolidating the five – count them – five higher education boards: LSU, ULS, Southern, Regents and Community. Each of these boards has a complete staff that has to be fed and watered.

      We’re probably not talking about but a few million to save, but paraphrasing the late Sen. Everett Dirkson, “A million here, a million there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.”

      Besides it would set a great example.

      Then we would get serious and look a couple of university campuses to shutter or consolidate. After that, we would jack up the entrance requirements so that fewer marginal students could be admitted to the remaining institutions.

      The entrance requirement upgrade is likely to be most problematic of all.

      It could cause problems with LSU fielding football and basketball teams.

  2. azspeak@cox.net Says:

    Certainly we should consolidate education boards AND shut down a couple of colleges (or at least merge two or three universities into one). It’s absurd to have law schools at both LSU and Southern, two schools only a couple of miles from each other. I addressed both of these issues in an earlier post on my blog (www.louisianavoice.com).

    Moreover, how about having the governor and legislators cut their own staff? You’ve never seen that proposed one time and you won’t. Legislators and the governor could set an example by cutting their salaries as well–but they won’t. Recently, one of Jindal’s staff resigned her $110,000 salary to take a position in the private sector. That would have been the perfect opportunity for Jindal to say he was not filling the vacancy because of the state’s financial plight. But he didn’t. He immediately filled the post with a new appointee–at the same salary. He didn’t even promote from within; he brought in a new person. How’s that for Jindal’s practicing his “do more with less” philosophy?

    • Walter Abbott Says:

      We can’t disagree with a thing you suggest. The managers MUST set the example.

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