Nathan Stubbs

Jindal slashes $780,000 for Acadiana projects

by Nathan Stubbs

Yesterday, Gov. Bobby Jindal announced 258 line item vetoes from the state’s annual budget. In his press release, Jindal touted the move represented more than $16 million in savings to state taxpayers, adding that his vetoes in HB1 are more than double the vetoes for all the state’s previous 12 budgets combined. The majority of the funding was slated for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that Jindal had previously pledged to crack down on. The cuts are impacting several local agencies. In all, Jindal cut a total of $780,000 slated for 15 different projects in Acadiana (see list below). Included in the cuts was $100,000 for a United Way of Acadiana student reading program. The veto prompted local United Way director Margaret Trahan to send out an email yesterday re-iterating the merits of the project. Trahan writes:

The Governor's stated reason for his veto is that we did not meet his criteria, an opinion with which I strongly disagree. We filed an online application as requested, testified in an open Senate hearing, demonstrated substantial regional impact of 30,000+ children between the ages of 0 to 5 in 6 parishes, and thought that support of school readiness was a priority of the Governor, Blueprint Louisiana, and multiple state agencies.  In fact the BESE Board will be tracking the results of the pilot program that has already begun in Eunice.Our only hope at this point is for the veto to be overridden by the Legislature.  Unless there is a strong public reaction to these vetoes, the override session will not be called as it could look like retaliation for the veto of the payraise.

United Way is only one local organization coping with the cuts. Here’s a full list of Acadiana projects cut yesterday from the budget:

$75,000 to the Children's Museum of Acadiana.
$60,000 to The Cajuns: A history 1610 to the Present.
$10,000 in funding for the St. Martin Parish, Iberia, Lafayette Community Action Agency (SMILE Community Action Agency) for the mentor program.
$15,000 in funding for the St. Martin Parish, Iberia, Lafayette Community Action Agency (SMILE Community Action Agency).
$100,000 in funding for the United Way of Acadiana Imagination Library/Jumpstart Initiative
$110,000 to the city of Eunice for tennis court construction and expansion.
$25,000  to the town of Arnaudville for infrastructure repairs and improvements and playground equipment acquisitions
$150,000 to the Evangeline Parish Recreation District for construction of a ball park
$10,000 to the city of Crowley for acquisition of playground equipment
$10,000 to the city of Rayne for acquisition of playground equipment
$25,000 to the Breaux Bridge Historical Society
$5,000 to Lafayette Catholic Service Centers, Inc.
$10,000 for St. Martin, Iberia, Lafayette Community Action Agency (SMILE)
$100,000 to the St. Mary Parish Community Action Agency
$50,000 to the St. Mary Parish Council for recreation improvements to Centerville Park
$25,000 to the Aranza Outreach Hope Center.

Afternoon Update: should also include $50,000 for UL's Center for Cultural and Eco Tourism. HT to reader Josh Benton