Monday, March 13, 2006
By JOHN LAPLANTE
Gov. Kathleen Blanco is running radio ads warning residents about unnamed interests that might try to “rebuild big government” in Louisiana.
Some radio listeners might be surprised to hear that “big government” is gone, as if it were a victim of the hurricanes.
Actually, the storms ensured big government will continue because so much of the recovery effort relies on government spending to shore up and rebuild structures, communities and economies. Big government is keeping this state alive.
The governor’s latest budget, unveiled two days before her ads started, would spend $20.3 billion. That’s 12 percent more than the budget she proposed this time last year, before hurricanes Rita and Katrina.
Blanco expects more money and wants to spend it. She is keeping government as big as possible and adding new spending, even though some income is uncertain. Why try to muddle that obvious fact?
The governor might have underestimated the reaction of some residents who wonder why anyone should get targeted for raises when state finances are so uncertain and so many other workers have lost some or all of their income, and their homes to boot.
If the governor wants to warn voters to watch the Legislature, why not just do that?
Lawmakers already must feel besmirched by her remarks, so what does she have to lose by naming names? Yet the governor’s cagey ad doesn’t tell voters who to distrust or what they should do about it.
If there are bad guys, exposing them and siccing the voters on them might be the best way to foil their plans.