Dec 14, 2010 7:04 PM by Shawn Kline

Fixing the leaking bucket: mending the state budget

"That junkie can sell his TV or sell his stereo but sooner or later he's going to run out of things to sell." That's State Treasurer John Kennedy's take on Governor Jindal's plan to reduce a state budget defecit; now nearing $2-Billion.
Kennedy recently wrote a list of 16 ways the state could reduce its deficit and is encouraging the Governor to hear his side. So far, few of his ideas have been adopted. The Governor's Office calling some of Kennedy's ideas, "gimmicks."
Meanwhile, Jindal is looking at alternatives like selling state-owned prisons, office buildings and privatizing group benefits.
Governor Jindal is even considering selling future lottery proceeds to fill the hole.
The treasurer, however thinks he can get the state back in the black.

Each holiday season, we spend and we spend and we spend for the holidays. Much like your family at home, the Pelican State also needs to cut back.
"Whether its a small business or large business and its sales are down what's the first thing it looks at?" Kennedy asks. "Labor costs" was his answer.
When Kennedy looks at the state defecit, he sees $2-billion of government inefficiencies.
"What I recommend that we do is not fill a third of our vacancies this year." Kennedy says, "if we did that, we'd save $500-million a year."
Kennedy also cites some of the state's consulting contracts. He says scrapping just 10-percent of those could save taxpayers nearly $1-billion..
"We've got consultants we hired to encourage people to use seatbelts." Kennedy says, "we have another consultant to help people learn how to use facebook, and I'm not making these up!"
Add up the numbers and Kennedy's 16-points could save the state more than $2.5-billion. Money that could put the state budget back in the black.
"I think we should do what businesses and families have been doing for a long time in Louisiana." Kennedy says, "that is set our priorities and live within our means."
He says, "it can be done but we're going to have to make some changes around this state capitol in order to achieve that end."
Changes in the way the government spends its money. The Governor's office however is exploring other ideas. Ideas they say are more reasonable.


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