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Let Them Eat King Cake: Jindal Wants Louisiana’s Students to Foot the Bill.

By Meghan Henoumont

 

The weeks following Mardi Gras’ end are, as we all know, exceptionally brutal. The celebratory combination of lack of sleep and good times leaves us all in a daze: Time passes, the fog clears, we return to real life and what a return for students this year was. Starting as early as next year, students at Louisiana public universities may have to pay an extra $2,000 in tuition.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is proposing an “excellence fee” for higher education, to recoup budget cuts his administration created for the state’s 2016 fiscal year. The budget cuts are Jindal’s “solution” for the state’s $1.6 billion budget shortfall. The Jindal administration has been pointing its finger at dropping oil prices as the reason for the divesting cuts to public universities.
Higher Education institutions across the state of Louisiana are bracing for the shocking $211 million cuts, which may shut the doors of some schools. On March 3, Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo held a press conference in Baton Rouge, where he said “…some public college and university campuses would close” if the budget cuts do go through unchallenged.
While some school leaders have indicated they believe it is still too early to begin to think about a new student fee, Rallo cautioned that higher education will have to precede cutting programs and classes from university catalogs if the state cannot provide any clue of finances available for the next school year.
Several legislators have suggested shielding higher education with funds generated by raising the cigarette tax. However, Jindal has his own solution: rolling back 12 refundable tax credits, which mainly favor rewarding the business community. Business leaders were openly upset by the chance of losing additional yearly funds, calling it a tax hike. In response Jindal’s administration created the “excellence fee,” possibly in place of the original tax credit plans.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is gearing up for his shot to star in the greatest show on Earth, the 2016 presidential election. If Jindal supports the tax cuts he first suggested, he could gain the attention of national tax hike watch groups, a situation capable of ending his ascent to the oval office before it begins.
As Jindal prepares to hit the campaign trail, he is asking Louisiana’s mainly low-income students to not only pick up the tab, but to stay right where they are – for life. From many states away, Jindal is sending a message to the citizens of Louisiana and it may as well be “let them eat king cake.”

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