Our state has been recovering from its reputation as a casino of insider deals. Eroding the independence of the inspector-general’s office is a step back.
If there is one bargain in the state budget, we think it’s the less than $2 million a year spent on an office targeting public corruption and fraud.
It makes no sense for the Legislature to economize by eliminating the funding for the Office of Inspector-General in state government.
The House of Representatives deleted the funding for the office, a signal that officeholders may be unhappy about investigations by Inspector-General Stephen Street, a veteran prosecutor.
We don’t buy the notion that Street’s office — designed in law to be independent — is just a duplication of effort by other agencies. One of the key elements of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s calls for a cleaner image for Louisiana nationwide was the strengthening of the office from outside interference.
Is there a worse case of interference than zeroing out the office’s budget? We are happy that the Jindal administration has pledged its support for restoring the funds, and we hope that the Senate agrees and reverses the House decision.
What signal does this send to anyone looking at doing business in Louisiana? Our state has been recovering from its reputation as a casino of insider deals. Eroding the independence of the Inspector-General’s Office is a step back.
Being less than 100 percent in on government integrity undermines Louisiana’s efforts to become a state welcoming to honest businesses.