He's dramatically cut the number of state workers, though mostly by issuing contracts to pay private firms to do the same work. He's created one of the nation's largest school voucher programs, with a price tag of $25 million this year and more than 4,900 students enrolled.
Yet for all his criticism of a big federal government, Jindal has approved its excess and accepted its bounty. As a congressman, he supported deficit budgets under President George W. Bush. Jindal, like every other governor, used federal stimulus money — provided through an Obama law that Jindal assailed — to balance his state budget for at least two years and, in many instances, he traveled to small towns to hand out checks to local government leaders, while sidestepping the explanation that the dollars came from federal coffers.
As many program cuts as Jindal has pushed in Louisiana, he's feuded with his fellow Republicans in the Legislature who say he's not done enough.
Jindal's state government helped spend billions of dollars in federal rebuilding aid after multiple hurricanes, including Katrina. Louisiana just hosted the Super Bowl in a publicly owned stadium restored and upgraded with taxpayer money.
Particularly to outsiders, Jindal has styled himself as a technocrat — competence above ideology — who doesn't necessarily get his juice from social conservatives. He has won plaudits for disaster management on hurricanes and after the BP oil spill. His command of policy details is obvious in his public appearances and, according to those with access, in private meetings.
Still, he carefully cultivates social conservatives. A Catholic convert raised by Hindu parents, Jindal has spent countless Sundays in Protestant north Louisiana sharing his personal testimony. He signed the Louisiana Science Education Act that allows science teachers to use outside curriculum, a move that Nobel laureates protest as back-door to teach Biblical creation as science. His voucher program pays for children to attend religious schools that teach creationism and reject evolution.
Over his five years in office, Jindal has traveled to three dozen states to collect campaign dollars, meet voters and help other Republican candidates. He's tapped into an extensive network of GOP fundraising and consulting firms that could help launch future political campaigns and built political relationships across key presidential states like Iowa and New Hampshire. And, as he pushes his tax overhaul, he's hired former communications aides who worked for Romney and Mike Huckabee.
Even so, Teepell said none of Jindal's agenda is aimed at outsiders: "The governor is focused on Louisiana."
Barrow reported from Atlanta.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Gov. Bobby Jindal faces deepening troubles in his home state even as he dishes out advice on how the divided GOP can regroup and looks to position himself as a national party front man.
The new head of the Republican Governors Association has made a series of cuts to health services and colleges, drawing criticism from affected constituents and Republicans who say he's not cut enough.
And while he delighted conservative policy wonks nationally with his signature measures overhauling education and public employee pensions, those laws are tied up in state court as Republican judges claim constitutional concerns.
Recent polls also suggest that Jindal's once-formidable job performance rating has fallen below 50 percent just over a year after he was re-elected without serious opposition.
Barrow reported from Atlanta.
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