Gov't

State Treasurer John Kennedy Speaks at Republican Roundtable

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Submitted by Bill Parsons; Photo and "8 Ways" article submitted by the State Treasurer's Office

    Tuesday at noon a crowd of 40+ gathered at Sammy's for a meeting hosted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Republican Party Parish Executive Committee. Attending were Mayor Mac Watts, City Councilman Louis DeJohn, Rep. Cliff Richardson, State Senator Dale Erdy, East Baton Rouge Parish School Board member Connie Benard, Family Court Judge candidate Catherine Day and at large PEC board member Rev. Bill Parsons. Spokesperson for the event, Billy Thompson City Central district representative for PEC, said that this was the first Roundtable event hosted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Republican Party to be held outside the city of Baton Rouge. Next month the event will be in Zachary as the PEC enacts their plan to move the meetings around the parish.

    State Treasurer John Kennedy spoke about the projected state budget shortfall, approximately 1 billion dollars, and presented several suggestions he has submitted to the Governor address the issue. Mr. Kennedy also took questions from those in attendance in a lively interaction lasting about one hour. Major areas of concern of those in attendance were the moneys that were no longer going to be available to the state that came from the Federal Stimulus Package and non recurring funds received from FEMA and the BP Oil Spill funds and ways to cut the budget without neglecting the needs of higher education and other concerns. Mr. Kennedy said he was confident that a plan could be enacted that would provide needed services and balance the state budget.

 

    Below are further details about Kennedy’s budget ideas for Louisiana.  Thank you to the Treasurer’s Office for this information:

Another 8 Ways to Balance the State Budget Without Destroying Health Care and Higher Education

An Opinion Column By State Treasurer John Kennedy

              Here are eight additional ways to balance the state budget without destroying health care and higher education:

1.  Abolish the state’s three separate systems of higher education and place all universities (excluding community colleges) under the Board of Regents.  Direct the Board of Regents to eliminate wasteful duplicate programs, assign each university a role, scope and mission (with LSU designed as the state’s flagship university), and implement universal uniform transfer of course credits from community colleges to four-year colleges and among four-year colleges.  Annual savings:  $75 million

2.  Instead of selling state property in a bad economy, when prices are low, in order to generate one-time revenue, enter into joint ventures with private developers, chosen by competitive bid, to develop underutilized state land into income-producing assets, with the recurring revenues shared by the state and the private developers.  Annual savings (revenue):  $50 million

3.  Have the Legislative Auditor audit per-patient costs, employees per occupied bed and medical supplies procurement and management at Louisiana’s Charity Hospitals, and implement the recommendations.  A similar 2009 audit by Alvarez & Marsal of Big Charity in New Orleans found $72 million of annual savings.  Annual savings for the other 9 hospitals:  $100 million

4.  Direct that annual spending per secure commitment in the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice be equal to the Southern average.  Louisiana has 508 juveniles in secure facilities.  We spend $115,000 annually per youth, according to the House Appropriations Committee budget analyst.  (The cost is $141,000 annually, according to the Justice Policy Institute.)  Florida spends $70,000, Alabama $85,000 and Arkansas $34,000.  Annual savings:  $26 million

5.  As a condition of their contracts, require all state vendors and contractors to receive a tax clearance from the Department of Revenue certifying that their state taxes have been paid, and authorize the state to offset any future tax liabilities against contract payments owed the vendor or contractor.  Annual savings:  $15 million

6.  Establish cooperative agreements with Mississippi and Arkansas to purchase supplies in bulk and share heavy equipment, specialized vehicles, aircraft, warehouse space, call centers, collection operations, licensing functions, back office operations and agricultural, fishery and nursery operations, similar to the Wisconsin-Minnesota Collaboration Project.  Annual savings:  $10 million

7.  Competitively bid more state contracts for maintenance of state-owned computer hardware and software.  State law currently allows agencies to award these maintenance contracts, without competitive bid, to the companies (like Hewlett-Packard, IBM, etc.) from which the agency originally purchased the hardware or software (called the “Original Equipment Manufacturer”) if the agency deems the hardware or software to be “mission-critical.”  Annual savings:  $5 million

8.  Begin appropriating only 97% of revenue estimates to minimize mid-year budget cuts and avoid disruption of agency budgets.

                Total savings:  $281 million

                Louisiana doesn’t need to raise taxes.  We just need to manage our money better.

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