With just a little digging, anyone can see that the governor consistently lies about his record.
Considering how much free ink Gov. Bobby Jindal has gotten for himself penning shallow op-eds in Time magazine and The New York Times in the past year or so, it's ironic that the governor's inert presidential campaign got knocked off its game (such as it is) by the normally fawning Fox News Network. During a July 12 appearance on Fox News Sunday, host Bret Baier nailed Jindal for his pathetic fiscal record as Louisiana's governor. Jindal tried to deflect the criticism and dodge the question, but Baier kept bringing the increasingly nervous Jindal back to his record of deficits and — gasp! — tax increases. Baier even zeroed in on Jindal's "SAVE Act" gimmick, asking, "Isn't that, Governor, the kind of stuff that Republicans hate about Washington?"
Yes, it is. And it's about time someone from network TV nailed Jindal for what everyone in Louisiana knows to be the truth: He raised taxes and used fiscal doublespeak to "balance" his last budget.
As far as we can tell, that was the first time — but hopefully not the last — that a network interviewer exhibited signs of doing some homework on Jindal. With just a little digging, anyone can see that the governor consistently lies about his record. Among Jindal's biggest whoppers is his now-standard claim that he reduced state spending by 26 percent, or $9 billion. That's beyond exaggeration. It's a lie.
Jindal repeated that lie during the Fox News Sunday interview when he said, under grilling from Baier about his tax increases, "We've actually cut government. Our budget is $9 billion smaller than when we took office." No, Governor, it's not $9 billion smaller. In fact, it's not even close to $9 billion smaller — nor has it ever been. And every time you say that, Governor, you're lying.
Here are the numbers:
When Bobby Jindal took office in January 2008, the state was halfway through former Gov. Kathleen Blanco's last budget, which was $28.6 billion. Of that, nearly $12.9 billion was federal money — much of it in the form of steadily dwindling, post-Katrina/Rita disaster relief. Equally important, Blanco left the state with a surplus of more than $850 million — all of which Jindal spent in his first year in office.
A year ago, Jindal signed a budget of more than $25.8 billion, which included almost $10.1 billion in federal funds. Although that budget was less than the budget Jindal inherited from Blanco, it's nowhere near a 26 percent reduction — and certainly not $9 billion less. As political columnist Robert Mann pointed out, the difference between Blanco's last budget and Jindal's 2014-15 budget is roughly $2.75 billion — which is less than the $2.81 billion reduction in federal funding during that same time period.
Jindal's final budget of $25 billion is also less than Blanco's final budget, but nowhere near $9 billion less. Moreover, as the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR) noted, Jindal's final budget contains $747 million in tax and fee increases — which brings us to Jindal's biggest whopper of all: that he "balanced" his final budget "without raising taxes."
We can't wait to see Fox News hold Jindal's feet to the fire on that lie.