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Kennedy Frustrated with Legislature and Jindal Administration

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Sometimes it’s hard to tell which irritates State Treasurer John Kennedy more: the Legislature or the Governor.

Speaking to the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday, Kennedy said he believes the legislature improperly passed several tax measures this spring.

“The Legislature couldn’t get a 2/3 vote, so they just decided to get a legal opinion that it only takes a majority vote.”

He also aired some of his dissatisfaction with Gov. Bobby Jindal.

“The Governor has done many good things, but finances is not one of them.”

Kennedy, who teaches constitutional law at LSU, spoke at length on his opinion of a lawsuit filed by the Louisiana Chemical Association. It challenges the constitutionality of HCR 8, which achieved final passage by a simple majority, with less than two minutes remaining on the final day of the session.

“A two-thirds vote is required for all tax matters,” Kennedy maintains, referring to both the 1974 Constitution, and the records from that Constitutional Convention.

And he predicts the LCA suit won’t be the only one.

“There will probably be other lawsuits filed, depending upon how well the initial suit goes.”

Kennedy is also upset about an attempt to sell off the old Charity Hospital in New Orleans, with little or no public scrutiny.

“Commissioner Nichols, presumably with the Governor’s permission, just went out, did an RFP. The proposals came in. They’re secret. The press had to file a public records doctrine to get copies,” Kennedy said.

“I’m afraid the Governor and the Commissioner on their way out the door are going to take the position -- which I think is erroneous -- that they have unfettered discretion to do whatever they want to with a state asset, and therefore they’re gonna sell that building.”

The proposals include one to purchase the building for $30-million, and several others to lease it. All of the proposals include expectation of receiving state tax breaks to help offset the cost of economic redevelopment of the Art Deco-era building.

The administration says they could make a recommendation on the property within six weeks. Kennedy wants the decision left up to the next governor.