Last August, in his campaign materials, then-candidate Bobby Jindal promised voters that he would, as governor, prohibit Legislators from giving themselves pay raises that take effect before the subsequent election. Now, Jindal promises lawmakers not to veto a bill more than doubling their salaries.
I will keep my pledge to let them govern themselves and make their own decisions as a separate branch of government, Jindal said (in a press release) last week. Jindals latest pronouncement stands in stark contrast to his pledge to voters on page five of his 2007 spending platform, titled Government Reform: Controlling Runaway State Spending (http://www.bobbyjindal.com/downloads/Jindal_Spending.pdf). The administrations current line is that Jindals earlier promise to prohibit legislators from giving themselves pay raises does not necessarily mean a veto of the legislative raises. So far, no one seems to be buying that line.
Jindal cannot simply punt to the Legislature on this one, says C.B. Forgotston, a Hammond attorney and former chief counsel for the budget-drafting House Appropriations Committee. Forgotston, who disseminated Jindals 2007 campaign literature last week via email, writes on his blog (www.forgotston.com) that the governor says that he is keeping his word to 76 politicians (who voted for the pay raise), but is breaking his word to over 2 million voters and citizens of Louisiana.
His Next Broken Promise?
Will breaking promises get to be a habit with Gov. Bobby Jindal? His next chance to keep or break a key campaign promise could be deciding whether to veto a bill that would expand gambling in Louisiana. Last Thursday (June 19), the state Senate gave final approval to a bill that would allow a new horseracing track in Iberville Parish with slot machines as part of the equation, of course. House Bill 937 by Rep. Karen St. Germain, D-Plaquemine, calls for a local referendum on the track as well as the attendant forms of gambling (pari-mutuel, off-track and slots) but first it requires the governors signature. The main promoter of the bill is businessman and longtime Edwin Edwards supporter Billy Trotter, former owner (with Louisiana newspaper magnate and close EWE pal B.I. Moody) of Evangeline Downs in St. Landry Parish. Trotter got the first slots-at-the-track bill passed for Evangeline Downs during Mike Fosters term as governor and then sold the track for mega-millions. Now, he apparently wants to do the same for a yet-to-be-built track in Iberville Parish. Jindals campaign finance reports show that William Trotter of Lafayette donated $5,000 to the governors campaign last August. Meanwhile, sources say Foster has helped Trotter behind the scenes with the proposed Iberville Parish racino including efforts to convince Jindal not to veto HB 937. However, the same day that HB 937 passed the Senate, Jindal press secretary Melissa Sellers said he would veto it. If that proves true, then the underlying political question will be, did he break a promise to Foster/Trotter?