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Analysis: Jindal focused on political future

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Florida Republican gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott, left, and running mate Jennifer Carroll listen to Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal during at rally at Orlando Executive Airport, Friday, Sept. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/Orlando Sentinel, Joe Burbank)

By Melinda Deslatte

BATON ROUGE — The state’s budget troubles haven’t made a dent in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s campaign and travel schedule as he crisscrosses the country to stump for Republican candidates and heads out across Louisiana to tout his own accomplishments.

The rosy picture he paints of Louisiana’s achievements largely leaves out the budget woes and offers little confidence to state residents that the governor’s preoccupied with the impending slashing expected to health services or public colleges.

Instead, Jindal seems focused on a future beyond Louisiana.

As lawmakers this week formally recognize last year’s deficit, Jindal might want to remember that how he handles the state’s immense budget troubles here could impact just how far he’ll go nationally.

The state ended its budget year in June with a $108 million deficit, and agencies will be cut this year to close that gap. The governor is expected to unveil those cuts to the $25.5 billion budget as early as this week.

Meanwhile, the state faces a $1.6 billion shortfall next year, continues to cope with a series of budget reductions in the last two years and may need to make another $200 million in cuts this year if it loses a lawsuit over use of the state’s “rainy day” fund.

The Division of Administration says Jindal’s top budget adviser, Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater, speaks to the governor “all the time” about the budget cuts being considered for this year and the even deeper slashing needed for next year.

“The commissioner and governor, along with their staffs, are in constant communication,” said Michael DiResto, a spokesman for the division.

Much of that conversation must be done by phone — and between flights.

Just last week, Jindal was in Florida on the campaign trail with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio, in New Hampshire to campaign with GOP gubernatorial candidate John Stephen and in New York to meet with his fellow Republican governors and fundraise for himself.

The week before that, Jindal attended a Missouri fundraiser for his re-election campaign and stopped by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Blunt’s campaign headquarters while he was in the state for his brother’s wedding.

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Written by demon53

October 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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