Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fat of the Land: Jindal's top execs immune from tough times

Melinda DeSlatte:

The belt-tightening espoused by Gov. Bobby Jindal in the face of a massive budget shortfall next year only extends so far — and certainly not to his top paid executives.

After entering office last year, Jindal raised the salaries of several Cabinet secretary positions.... State lawmakers bristled at the time. One legislator called Moret's pay "offensive." The House even voted against some of the pay raises, but was reversed by the Senate.

Republican Rep. Hunter Green:

"I think it should be revisited. I was very clear with the governor last year that I thought there were a number of salaries that were too high."

Some of those high salaries:

Among the pay increases Jindal secured for his top appointees: Moret receives $320,000 a year, compared to the $245,755 salary paid to his predecessor; Moret's top deputy receives $237,500 per year, compared to the $143,460 salary paid to his predecessor; the governor's homeland security chief gets $27,000 more than his predecessor, with a $165,000 salary; and the assistant secretary for the Office of Public Health gets a $180,000 salary, a $60,000 boost from the person who previously held the job.

(ea) Gov. Jindal's top budget adviser has slammed the door on salary cuts.

"We are not looking at any reductions to the Cabinet appointees' salaries."

It's difficult to see how this could harm Louisiana's economy; it's easy to see how it could hurt its spirit.