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Jindal Continues "Farewell Tour"

Sue Lincoln

Governor Bobby Jindal is making the rounds one last time, continuing his “farewell tour” of the state this week. After speaking engagements in Shreveport and Monroe last week, he’s speaking in New Orleans today and Lafayette tomorrow. Yesterday, he faced the Baton Rouge Press Club, and touted his accomplishments of eight years in the Governor’s Mansion.

“Our work’s not done, but we did what we said we were going to do. We made the big changes that had to be made,” Jindal said.

What gets top billing on his list? The first thing he did — ethics reform.

“Those ethics changes weren’t easy to implement,” Jindal reminisced. “They weren’t easy to pass, and yet we did ‘em – moved from the bottom 5 to the top 5 in the Better Government Association’s integrity index. Went from 44th worst to number one – the Center for Public Integrity’s legislative disclosure list.”

Leaving aside the fact that it’s easiest to get the legislature to go along in a governor’s first special session, Jindal’s statement is contradicted by the 2015 state ethics rankings from the Center for Public Integrity. This fall’s list gives Louisiana an “F”, ranking 41st of the 50 states. Asked about that, Jindal argued, “I know there are a bunch of subjective rankings. I know, for example, CPI does one ranking that’s based on interviewing local journalists and reporters. If you actually look at the objective rankings, you actually look at the changes we put in place, Louisiana does rank at the top.”

Not so, not even in the South. Every other southern states ranked higher than Louisiana.

Jindal cited education reforms and industrial growth as additional successes of his gubernatorial term. But members of the capitol press corps grilled him about another part of his legacy: the chronic state budget shortfalls he’s dealt with, and leaves for the next administration.

Jindal said he shrank the size of state government, and seemed to chalk the criticism of his fiscal management up to sour grapes.

“Folks that want to grow government will never say, ‘There’s plenty of money this year.’ They’re always going to want to spend more money.”