Congratulations are in order to Gov. John Bel Edwards for his victory and his commitment to Louisiana. I choose to believe him, and I am optimistic he will lead the state with that commitment. As stated in his editorial in The Advocate on Jan. 11, there are many challenges ahead, and the biggest will be tackling the state’s budget mess.

It should be noted that the budget mess was left by former Gov. Bobby Jindal and last year’s Legislature, which included Edwards, so, even if he didn’t agree with the majority, he should be familiar with the wrong way to manipulate the budget. He plans to call a special session, and I applaud that decision.

Taxpayers already paid our public “servants” to do this job properly, and they failed miserably. Because they didn’t do what they were paid to do the first time, I think the special session should be handled like a “warranty repair” and should not cost taxpayers. Nothing shows leadership and commitment more than setting a good example for those one proposes to lead.

The governor’s editorial in The Advocate said, “Together with our Legislature, you and I must stabilize our state budget if we are to save and fortify Louisiana for our children and grandchildren.” I couldn’t agree more.

To me, this implies that the “you” in “you and I” are specifically the tax-paying citizens of Louisiana, and we should be prepared to do our part by paying additional taxes. If that assumption is correct, what does “together with our Legislature” mean?

In the past, that would have meant irresponsible spending of other people’s money based on unrealistic estimates of revenue and no consequences for poor judgment or bad behavior. If the coming year is to be any different, this is a perfect time for the governor and legislature to show residents there is a willingness to demonstrate responsibility, as well as accept accountability for poor job performance.

We are anxiously waiting to see what “together with our Legislature” really means.

Bo Bienvenu

former business owner