Jindal vetoes 258 items in HB1

BATON ROUGE – Today, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that he has line item vetoed 258 items in the state’s operating budget for FY 2008-2009 (HB 1), accounting for more than $16.14 million in non-governmental and governmental projects. Governor Jindal’s 258 vetoes in HB1 are more than double the vetoes for all the state’s previous 12 budgets combined.

Previously, Governor Kathleen Blanco had 39 line item vetoes in her house budget bills during her entire four years in office. Governor Mike Foster had 81 line item vetoes in house budget bills during his term, and over the last 12 years combined, there was a total of 120 line item vetoes in state budget bills.

Governor Jindal said, “On the day I took office, I told Louisianians that together we would create a New Louisiana – a Louisiana that gives our citizens the opportunities they deserve by taking on bold reforms. For too long, state government has spent and spent, with little regard for taxpayer’s money. On inauguration day, I said that we must strive for real reform and not mere cosmetic changes to create a New Louisiana. Today, we are taking another step toward that New Louisiana by vetoing unnecessary non-governmental and governmental spending to reduce our state budget and send a signal that we will not settle for business as usual. We are striving for an efficient state government that operates transparently, and wisely invests taxpayer money in state priorities.

“During the session, I laid out criteria for legislators to let them know that we would support those projects which were state priorities, but would veto state funding for projects that were not. To be sure, there will always be more worthy causes than there will be state funding. It is our job to ensure tax dollars are wisely spent and invested in state priorities that will further our creation of a New Louisiana that encourages business growth and job creation so our kids don’t have to leave home to pursue their dreams.”

Governor Jindal’s 258 line item vetoes of more than $16.14 million from HB 1 comes on the heels of his 25 line item vetoes in the state’s supplemental bill passed by legislators, which trimmed off a total of more than $9.29 million in savings. Additionally, included in the Governor’s 258 line item vetoes of HB 1 today was also an item affecting health care providers which DHH estimated would have cost the state around $27 million, meaning the Governor’s total direct and indirect savings from line items vetoes in HB 1 totaled more than $43 million.

During legislative session in April, Governor Jindal sent a letter to legislators outlining his required criteria to support spending for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in budget bills. The Governor’s letter stated:

“Therefore, below is a list of criteria for NGO funding required to gain my support; and as such, any NGO funding passed by the Legislature that does not meet the following criteria will be vetoed. NGO funding passed by the State Legislature:

- Must have statewide or substantial regional impact.

- Must have been presented/openly discussed during the legislative session.

- Must be a state agency priority.

- Must have the proper disclosure form published online prior to consideration for funding (consistent with information provided in the House disclosure form).”

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