On the heels of his largely successful ethics-reform special session, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal isn’t wasting any time calling back the Legislature for Round Two. This morning Jindal is slated to call a new special session expected to begin this Sunday, March 9. On the agenda this time is tax breaks for businesses and dedicating part of the state’s $1.1 billion surplus to road funding .
But as the Times-Picayune notes , the possibility of Jindal proposing tax breaks for families whose children attend private schools could spark a firestorm of controversy. With Louisiana’s public education system continually falling near or at the bottom of national public education rankings, organizations like the Louisiana Federation of Teachers won’t be happy about as much as $20 million in taxpayer dollars essentially going toward the equivalent of private school vouchers.
On a quasi-related note, Jindal campaign manager Rolfe McCollister — the publisher of Baton Rouge Business Report — has made it clear where he stands. In a recent column, McCollister urged Baton Rouge residents to vote NO in a March 8 special election that could give $870 million over 10 years to the troubled East Baton Rouge public school system for construction and technology, discipline and truancy, and salaries of teachers and school workers. McCollister wrote:
"This is exactly why a tax is set up for a limited duration: So you can decide if it generated the desired results and if you want to re-invest. I would conclude we got little return on our investment, and we need to look for something new to invest in. This system is broken down like a car with no engine. Why would you paint the body and hire a driver when it is going nowhere?"
Guess we’ll have to wait and see what that “something new” is that McCollister would prefer to invest in.