Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Louisiana Republicans challenge constitutionality of Jindal's budget

While Bobby Jindal gobbles up national headlines for pushing the GOP towards a new, post-Romney direction, The AP reports on some problems at home.

Nineteen members of the Louisiana House, nearly all Republicans, asked the attorney general Monday whether the state’s budget uses unconstitutional sources of financing. The move lodges a direct challenge to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budgeting tactics.

The request sent to Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is the latest strategy in a continuing struggle between a group of conservative House Republicans and the GOP governor over the use of one-time, piecemeal funding to pay for continuing government programs.

“Legislators are concerned whether Louisiana’s state budget is constitutional and lawful,” Rep. Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge, said in a statement.

Talbot, usually a Jindal ally, filed the opinion request with Caldwell’s office on behalf of a list of 18 Republicans and one lawmaker without party affiliation in the House.

A group of conservative House Republicans who call themselves “fiscal hawks” have criticized the patchwork funding as inappropriate, saying it’s irresponsible to use money that isn’t certain to appear year after year. But they have been unsuccessful in blocking use of the money, including about $270 million for ongoing expenses in the fiscal year that began July 1.