Jindal, 258; NGOs, 0

In the six months he’s been at the state’s helm, Gov. Bobby Jindal has made no secret that he intended to use his line-item veto powers on the state’s $30 billion operating budget.

Still stinging from the governor’s veto of their proposed pay hike, the state Legislature took another hit on the chin. More specifically, a wide array of non-governmental entities favored by state lawmakers took a pounding Monday.

In all, Jindal cut 258 items – including monies for a balloon festival, playground equipment, museums as well as the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.

Throughout the state’s Regular Session, the governor reminded lawmakers and voters alike that he intended to reject earmarks for local projects that he believed were not properly documented. Mid-day Monday, the hammer came down.

A number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including many that provide services in local communities, find themselves scrambling for funding.

At a cursory glance, the only Tri-parish groups affected by Jindal’s veto are the St. Mary Parish Community Action Agency, which was slated to receive $100,000, and the St. Mary Parish Council, which was to receive $50,000 for recreation improvements to Centerville Park. Both requests, the governor said, did not meet the criteria established in a letter he penned in April outlining NGO spending.

With Monday’s cuts, Jindal saved the state $16.14 million in spending on non-government and governmental projects. He also sent the clear signal that his “New Louisiana” will be leaner.

The verdict remains to be seen if voters are really ready for an efficiently run state government. After all, history tells us that when investing wisely means cuts to local services that many rely on daily, what’s best for the majority can be potentially the most harmful for our communities’ minority.

Either way, Jindal left twice as many vetoes in House Bill 1 on the cutting room floor than all the state’s previous 12 budgets combined. He’s proven in this instance that he’s a man of his word. The question now is how will the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts take it.