Sen. John Alario has been hanging around the State Capitol almost as long as the dinosaurs inhabited our Earth. Well, maybe not quite that long, but since 1972. He was twice speaker of the House before becoming Senate president. A longtime Democrat who served in a leadership position under former Gov. Edwin Edwards, Alario became a Republican in recent years and joined the legislative leadership under Gov. Bobby Jindal. Alario has faced no opponent since 2007.

Recently, Alario made the announcement that the present $1.6 billion budget shortfall can’t be fixed this legislative session because it is simply too big. He admitted that “we don’t have time now to come up with a long-term solution. The hard work will come next year.” Consequently, the cuts will be forthcoming to health care and, to a lesser extent, education.

Alario’s statements make it appear as though he has no responsibility for this present mess, when in fact, he and the rest of Jindal’s minions had seven years to prevent this budget catastrophe but instead chose to support Jindal’s “kick the can down the road” solution — something Alario is perpetuating yet again.

Alario, as Senate president, was the point man for ALL of Jindal’s budgets, including this year’s. During those years, he stood side by side with Jindal as he continued to dig the budgetary grave that has finally come to fruition this year.

Not once during the seven years of smoke-and-mirrors budgets did this man, considered by many as one of the most powerful lawmakers in the Legislature, even remotely challenge Jindal. In fact, he even blocked attempts to call special sessions to override Jindal’s vetoes of attempts by some legislators to prevent the present budget collapse. Alario has been a loyal puppet to Jindal and has been rewarded many perks for this loyalty.

However, he need not insult the intelligence of the Louisiana voters by acting as though he is trying to solve a budgetary situation that was simply handed to him by an incompetent governor. Alario shares equal responsibility with Jindal for the bankruptcy of Louisiana.

In six months, the residents of Louisiana will get a chance to elect a new governor along with 144 legislators. It time to throw all these legislators out of office and start anew.

Jim Anderson

retired education administrator