“Butchering our Future”

February 11, 2009

The current question regarding Gov. Bobby Jindal is usually “Where’s Bobby?” The real question is: Where’s his leadership? Veteran Louisiana political writer John Maginnis addressed the issue yesterday, and now Baton Rouge Business Report editor JR Ball looks even deeper. Some highlights from Ball’s current column, aptly titled “Butchering our Future“:

Bobby Jindal repeatedly has told us the major priorities of this state—as well as his 1-year-old administration—are, in no particular order, 1] improving the quality and funding of higher education, including university-affiliated research facilities like Pennington Biomedical, 2] building the foundation for and growing a knowledge-based economy, and 3] stemming the 20-plus year mass exodus of our most educated and most talented young people.

So why doesn’t Jindal appear more concerned about the academic Armageddon that will play out if the state’s colleges and universities are forced to take a $212 million to $382 million budget hit?

… Who knows, maybe Jindal is counting on a plan he doesn’t support—President Barack Obama’s spending-spree-disguised-as-a-stimulus-plan—to solve the state’s looming fiscal crisis? Louisiana and its local governments, after all, are in line for as much as $3.1 billion.

Jindal says improving higher education, building a knowledge-based economy, and retaining and attracting smart young people is a top priority. OK, well what’s the plan? Where’s the strategic vision? Jindal is a McKinsey alum and lover of bullet-point plans, so where’s the one addressing this state’s long-term economic life?

… Without question, the flagship university’s dire budget reduction plan assumes every worst-case scenario and is one-part reality, one-part public relations and two-parts a shot across the administration’s bow. Still, very real cuts are coming and the damage to this state’s long-term economic growth could be devastating.

Jindal is a smart guy, so maybe he knows something the rest of us non-Ivy League educated folks don’t? If so, I’m saying it’s time for Jindal to give the rest of us a sneak peak at his brilliance.

Our future depends on it.

Read the whole column here.

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