Update on Gov. Jindal's Slush Fund Vetoes

Gov. Jindal has vetoed $16 million of $53 million total “slush fund” legislative grants.

The 258 vetoes in House Bill 1, the state’s nearly $30 billion operating budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year, is more than double the combined number of line-item vetoes in the past 12 years. Coupled with Jindal’s veto of $9.3 million in spending from a previous budget bill, they suggest the new governor is serious about curbing a cherished legislative tradition of sprinkling the budget with items for constituents, often with little or no oversight.

While critics have long derided such earmarks as pork-barrel spending, defenders say they pay for critical needs that otherwise wouldn’t be financed. Gone is money targeted for museums, church groups, festivals, youth programs, nonprofit groups and economic development initiatives, including millions of dollars for the New Orleans area.