Louisiana House takes swipe at Jindal accounting approaches

With little discussion Monday, the Louisiana House advanced legislation that takes a swipe at Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budgeting approaches.

The House voted 95-0 in favor of House Bill 490. The bill is a constitutional amendment that would put stricter controls on the transfer of money in the state’s coastal protection and restoration fund.

Many legislators were critical of the governor’s plans this year to put $51 million in one-time dollars into the coastal fund, then take out the same amount for the $25 billion proposed state spending plan. The complicated shuffling helps avoid prohibitions against using one-time, or nonrecurring, money for expenses likely to materialize year after year. The criticism centers on the fact that the deposit wouldn’t enhance the amount of money for coastal restoration.

The House Appropriations Committee removed the accounting shift from next year’s budget. HB490 would prevent the shift from being proposed in the future.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, said the fund would only be able to be used for coastal restoration issues.

HB490 now moves to the state Senate. If approved by two thirds of the Senate, the proposal would go on the November ballot.