Letter: Jindal’s poor choices won’t be forgotten

In response to “Jindal takes heat for vetoes,” July 12:

The Advocate has it so very wrong. While Gov. Bobby Jindal did provide figures and used them to his advantage, he and his administration withheld information. Overide The Veto LA countered Gov. Jindal’s press release with the whole truth in their press releases found on www.otvla.com.

There were indeed cuts, $794,000 to Children Special Health Services, $950,000 to Individual and Family Supports (IFS), $54,732 to Families Helping Families Resource Centers and $250,000 to Louisiana Assistive Technology Access Network. All critical services to children and adults with disabilities and their families. And families who were receiving services have lost services already, e.g., IFS contracts have not been renewed.

Additionally, Gov. Jindal never proposed any funding for New Opportunities Waiver slots in his executive budget since he’s been governor. It was Tom Schedler, when he was senator, and the Legislature who established a trust fund using surplus funds from the Blanco era that made 2,025 slots available during Gov. Jindal’s first year in office. Any additional slots were the result of the work and passion of advocates, supportive legislators and a lawsuit, not Gov. Jindal as evident in his proposed executive budgets.

Anyone can view House Bills 1 and 2 online and see in black and white that there are nonessential appropriated state dollars.

And Gov. Jindal’s veto letter itself shows Gov. Jindal took disability funding and put it toward his expansion for education vouchers that fundamentally excludes children with disabilities. So funding was and still is available for our citizens with disabilities.

What Gov. Jindal failed to do is make those most in need of supports a priority. Clearly actions speak louder than words. And his recent action of rejecting a solution discussed by three OTVLA families in a meeting with Kathy Kliebert, DHH secretary; Laura Brackin, OCDD assistant secretary; and Sens. Jack Donahue and Dan Claitor makes it all too clear where Gov. Jindal’s priorities are.

Gov. Jindal had a choice, many as a matter of fact, that Rep. Cameron Henry, Treasurer John Kennedy and others brought to his attention. But he chose to ignore them. Bad choices have consequences. And if a consequence is being viewed as “heartless,” so be it. If the shoe fits, wear it. But the governor is not getting a bad rap. His poor choices are being noticed and will not be forgotten. And while you may consider the 31 vetoed items relatively small, try walking in my daughter’s shoes and that of her peers.

Kathy Dwyer

disability rights advocate