Year after year, Louisiana didn't have enough money to cover its expenses, yet Gov. Bobby Jindal refused to roll back income tax cuts or ever-increasing corporate tax breaks. Instead, he raided reserve funds and sold off state property. Jindal suggested job growth from his economic development wins would replenish those assets once the recession ended. It hasn't -- and money from the lucrative oil industry has taken a nose dive with crude prices. Now, the Republican is running out of short-term patches and is struggling to plug a $1.6 billion budget hole just as he tries to build support for a possible 2016 presidential run. Funding for higher education and health care services will almost certainly be subject to cuts deeper than what they already have endured in recent years, and Jindal's successor will have to repay a string of debts and IOUs.
Louisiana's travails are particularly problematic because they have been caused in large part by Jindal's tax cuts, which, along with declining oil revenue, blew such a hole in the state budget that even huge spending cuts haven't made up the gap.... Jindal ate up the first 15 minutes of Monday's hour-long breakfast with an extensive preamble about an education reform policy he is proposing for the nation. But his record quickly intruded. "Is there some irony in your talking about ramping up education while you're cutting it in Louisiana?" Cook inquired. The governor ignored the specific question. [...] Minutes later, when Simendinger asked Jindal to explain why the big state deficit "qualifies you to run for president," the governor replied with a string of non-sequiturs.