But word Tuesday morning was that several closed-door meetings were ongoing as the administration fought back against growing opposition to his retirement “reforms.”
Last week, Senate Retirement Committee hearings were delayed for two hours while last-minute changes were made to Senate Bill 51 to make the bill more palatable. SB 51 was originally written to require state employees to work until age 67 before being able to realize full retirement benefits. That bill would have resulted in at least some employees losing up to 85 percent of their retirement benefits.
Other provisions that had to be re-worked at the last minute by the governor’s storm troopers would have raised employee contributions to their retirement by 3 percent while lowering the state’s contribution by a like amount. The money to have been saved by the state would have gone to the state’s general fund to help Jindal smooth over a huge budget deficit.
The amending version of that provision would allow the 3 percent additional employee tax to go toward reducing the combined unfunded accrued liability of the four state retirement systems.
Even that, however, appeared to be not sufficient to satisfy legislators who have been under the gun from constituents, particularly state employees, teachers, school employees and state police.
The bills appeared doomed.
But wait! Here comes a tiny car into center ring and out jumps a gaggle of clowns disguised as administration staff. Honking their horns, squirting seltzer bottles and squeezing their red noses, they appear to be running amok.
On second blush, however, we see that what we perceive as chaos is actually a plan, a strategy, as it were, to rescue the state from self-inflicted fiscal disaster.
But there’s one thing glaringly wrong with this picture: We can’t see it.
That’s because the coercion that is ongoing as this is being written is taking place behind closed doors, out of sight and out of earshot of the public.
We are simply not privy to the democratic process in action.
That’s the Jindal version of transparency, accountability and openness that, sadly, has become the hallmark of this administration.
In the words of actress Bette Davis: “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
Buy from our vendors