(COVINGTON, La.) — With the gubernatorial races in a runoff vote, it seems the appropriate time to analyze governor Bobby Jindal’s performance. According to a recent Gambit poll, only 27% of Louisianans approve of Jindal’s tenure as governor. According to informal canvassing, that number appears to be even lower at St. Paul’s School.
“If I had to grade Jindal on his term as governor of Louisiana, I’d give him a solid F,” Economics teacher Brian Logarbo said. “The economic situation that he has left the state in is nothing short of a joke; we are basically a third-world banana republic economy, (and) we are $800 million in the red after just three months of his last budget cycle.”
Louisiana has actually become classified as a “sinkhole state” according to State Data Lab; this means the state does not have enough worth in assets to cover its debt. In fact, it only has about $11.6 billion worth of assets against a gargantuan $31.2 billion worth of debt. Jindal, in order to aid the debt crisis in a short term solution, reached into reserve funds and actually sold off state property after refusing to reduce income tax cuts and corporate tax breaks. Finally, he has succumbed and made budget cuts aimed at higher education. Of all topics mentioned in recent SPS campus interviews, this particular one incited the most verbal responses.
“I tend to stay out of politics, but I disagree especially on his cuts in education,” Art teacher Andrew Dart said. “A tremendous amount of cuts were made to the arts department before many other departments, which I believe is devastating the public school system.”
“In general, slashes to education just seem to be the easy way out for most governors,” AP Civics teacher Sean Moser agreed.
These cuts to education, however, may have been unavoidable. Louisiana has a very unique constitution that prohibits the government from making cuts to many programs. Not only this, but in regards to easing the spending of government money away from programs like nursing homes, a two-thirds majority vote is required in the legislature. This vote is not required to make cuts to higher education.
“There’s really only two places (Jindal) can make cuts in Louisiana,” Economics teacher Brian Logarbo said. “(These are) education and healthcare, and healthcare is already stretched.”
The plummeting price of oil and gas is also complicating matters, as that brings the state significant revenue. According to oil-price.net, oil has been hovering below $60 a barrel, which is great for commuters and everyday consumers, but it’s also one of the key reasons for the colossal cuts across the board.
“There’s no way (Jindal) could have foreseen the drop in oil prices, which is a large percentage of Louisiana revenue,” Moser said. “For this reason, I think a lot of the negativity aimed at him now is not entirely valid.”
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Has the media augmented Jindal’s disapproval rate? Or, are the cuts to higher education and other government programs harmful to the well-being of the state of Louisiana? Please vote and leave comments below.