The capital outlay bill approved by lawmakers each year essentially has been a wish list that leaves decision-making to the governor.
The governor’s office submitted its recommendations for the bill. Lawmakers then added more projects than there was money. That left the governor’s office to choose among hundreds of items to determine which few actually get in line for state dollars. The State Bond Commission must vote on whether to grant lines of credit to projects submitted by the governor, but that vote was seen as a rubber stamp because the commission is packed with the governor’s allies.
Jindal wants the process overhauled to limit the annual construction budget bill passed by the Legislature to five years of projects for which the state can pay. He issued an executive order Tuesday outlining a reworking that includes setting up an evaluation system to review the projects sought by executive branch agencies, lawmakers and local government agencies. It’s amazing that allocating only the amount of money the state can afford to spend is considered a revolutionary idea.