Former Indian American Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is endorsing Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for president. Rubio campaign adviser Todd Harris confirmed the endorsement Feb. 5. It was the second from a former GOP presidential candidate for Rubio last week.
Rubio is trying to seize on a better-than-expected third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses as he sprints across New Hampshire ahead of this week’s first-in-the-nation primary. Rubio was addressing an audience of more than 700 before the confirmation that Jindal had offered his support. Jindal was a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination from last June until November.
In other news from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, AP reports that when Jindal exited the governor’s office, he left behind a string of IOUs for his economic development deals, at least $155 million of which could come due during the next four years of Governor John Bel Edwards’ term.
The former governor made commitments for incentive payments and construction projects tied to various business deals, without providing money to cover those long-term costs. Instead, Edwards inherited a budget awash in gaps and depleted savings accounts — on top of the obligations to which his predecessor committed the state.
Governors regularly make commitments to companies beyond their terms, leaving their successors to pick up the remaining tab. But Jindal’s obligations come as Edwards, a Democrat who took office earlier this month, grapples with the state’s deepest financial crisis in nearly 30 years.
In the upcoming 2016-17 budget year, the Edwards administration will owe an estimated $50 million to companies from Jindal’s economic development deals, about $11 million from the state construction budget and another $39 million in direct cash from the general fund.
That doesn’t count spending from any tax break programs through which companies in Louisiana can lessen what they owe the state. “Obviously, there have been commitments made that take a huge chunk of general fund dollars to satisfy,” said Edwards’ chief financial adviser, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne. “We’re going to satisfy contractual obligations that we have to.”
Jindal invested a strong focus on drawing business to Louisiana, and he announced a string of projects over his eight years in office. The Republican counted among his biggest achievements $62 billion in economic development wins estimated to create tens of thousands of jobs.
Those deals are estimated to cost more than $344 million in incentive and construction payments for Jindal’s successors, with commitments that run until 2030, according to data provided to The Associated Press shortly before Jindal left office.