A guest column by LBP Director, Edward Ashworth, published in the January 28, 2010 edition of The Times-Picayune, entitled “TOPS shift a way to get to the general fund,” criticizes Governor Jindal’s proposal to reallocate Millennium Trust monies to TOPS. Here is an excerpt:
Desperate times call for desperate measures—and Governor Jindal certainly is desperate. His recent announcement that he wants to raid the Millennium Trust Fund to put more money into TOPS violates the principles of good government and no small number of the Governor’s campaign promises.
Why raid the Millennium Trust? It’s obvious – as they say, when you see hoof prints, think horses, not zebras.
The Governor says his proposal is aimed at protecting TOPS from some unspecified future legislative threat. The more logical explanation is that he wants to free up state general fund dollars to help balance the budget. Because he knows that, politically, he can’t cut TOPS, he would put more of the state budget off limits by raiding the Millennium Trust and dedicating it to TOPS, freeing $40 million of state general funds for use in closing Louisiana’s budget hole.