TUESDAY: Mike Strain, Joe Delpit, and Ben Bagert


Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain comments on the recent budget cuts.  Statewide elected officials are claiming the mid-year budget cuts proposed by Governor Bobby Jindal are unfair.  Departments managed by statewide elected officials are receiving much larger cuts than than almost all other state departments.
"Statewide elected officials budgets together are less than one percent of the overall state budget, yet they are 16.7% of the budget cuts," Strain says.   

Strain says these cuts aren't fair across the board. 
"Budget cuts to the Department of Ag and Forestry are effectively $2.6 million.  If the cut were cut across the board, then our cut would have been $340,000," Strain continues, "We protect a 20 billion dollar industry... there is no alternative to our protection."  

The Department of Agriculture has received mid-year cuts equivalent to $2.6 million dollars and the Tourism Department has taken a $3.6 million hit, while the governor's office has proposed a $10,000 cut to its budget.  Jindal spokesman Mike Reed says the governor's office reduction is in line with other offices.  Strain says it's obvious that statewide elected officials are taking the brunt of the cuts.  

"In order to feed the rest of the world, we have to increase productivity," Strain concludes, asserting the importance of the Ag Center.  "At the end of the day, we have to put the people above our politics... from there we will begin again."  


Republican Benny Bagert calls for Governor Jindal's resignation.  He is joined by his former Democratic colleague Joe Delpit.  

"If we don't watch ourselves, we are going to have people dying here in the streets here in Louisiana," Delpit says of the closing hospitals.  "On the route we're going on, we're going to be on the same route as the terrorists."  Bagert also affirms that the governor does not have his priorities in order. 

They continue, discussing Governor Jindal's proposal for tax credits and the exemptions.  "I don't think you should have an exemption for this and that because once you get that log rolling everyone gets an exemption," Bagert says.  

Delpit and Bagert speculate who else might run for the upcoming governor's race and who the next governor will be.  

Jim says, "For the most part, it seems campaigns now are run on television," in Louisiana.  

Joe Delpit calls Jay Dardene a "credible candidate."