Our governor’s definition of “entertainment” must be different than mine.
Last week, the governor took time out to bid the Capitol press corps “arrivederci” before he ventured overseas. When asked about his no-bid “efficiency” contract that was announced quietly Friday afternoon to widespread derision, the governor said, “I’m glad we can entertain the Democratic Party.”
We don’t pay for the governor’s entertainment. We don’t pay him to fly across the country campaigning for higher office. We pay him to make the lives of Louisiana families better. And on that account, he has failed miserably.
Our unemployment rate has grown from 3.8 percent when he took office to 6.3 percent today. As the nation’s unemployment rate has fallen, ours has risen.
He has callously decided to refuse federal Medicaid dollars that would provide access to affordable health care for hundreds of thousands of working Louisianians. That fiscally irresponsible decision is costing state taxpayers about $100 million just this year.
In addition, the revelations about the contract — once thought to be $4 million but now understood to be $1 million a month for three years — continue. The contract will actually outlive Bobby Jindal’s term.
That’s right — even after Jindal is gone, his “efficiency” contract will live on. Finally, it’s critical to note the company that received this no-bid contract, Alvarez and Marsal, was a donor to the Republican Party of Louisiana and the Republican Governors Association.
If the governor were serious about saving taxpayer dollars, he would work with the Legislature and state workers to find efficiencies. But he’s not serious. He’s merely “entertaining” us until he kicks off his presidential campaign.
I was hopeful 2014 would bring a new commitment from the governor to put the people of Louisiana first. Unfortunately, we’re less than a month into the new year, and it already looks like more of the same from this governor.
Karen Carter Peterson
chairman, La. Democratic Party