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May 10, 2012 11:28 PM by Shawn Kline

Where are your tax dollars being "overspent" according to state officials?

Nearing the end of the fiscal year, the state faces another deficit. $200-million this year and another projected $300-million next year.
So, how are your tax dollars are being overspent? State Treasurer John Kennedy and the Jindal Administration offer separate opinions on how to cut back.

"Should taxpayers be surprised about what's going on?" KATC asked State Treasurer John Kennedy.

"No, they shouldn't," Kennedy explained. "They should be disappointed but not surprised."

Another year, another deficit at the capitol. This year, $211-million-dollars short.

"It's not a pretty sight," Kennedy said.

When Treasurer Kennedy goes through the budget he sees what he calls "top-heavy spending." Millions of taxpayer dollars spent on management positions and state consulting contracts other states have done away with.

"If they can do it, we're smart enough to do it," he says.

Kennedy goes as far to say the state can break even before the fiscal year ends in June. That's $200-million in cuts in less than a month.
Others in the legislature say every place that can be cut already has.

"We've gotten to the point where we can't go any lower," Rep. Ledricka Thierry said.

Rep. Thierry and the House Appropriations Committee did pass two bills without objection this week that would streamline thousands of jobs and many state contracts with a key point in mind: not taking money away from departments that need state funding.

"We can't afford to cut any more of higher ed institutions or the Department of Health and Hospitals," Thierry explained.

The Jindal Administration submitted a letter to representatives Thursday evening telling the House if cuts are made to the 2013 budget, it will have an effect on Higher Education, the Dept. of Health and Hospitals and the Dept. of Education.

Governor Jindal opposed similar streamline efforts supported by the House Appropriations Committee last year, calling the cuts "overly broad."

The treasurer says that's "an excuse." Kennedy says cutting those contracts and scrubbing 15-thousand management jobs will do the trick.

"That will solve our problem this year, for next year, and put us on a sound footing for the year after that," Kennedy said.

The two bills, HB327 and HB328 are likely to hit the House floor next week. Last year, similar bills passed through the House but ran into opposition in the Senate.

Another option to eliminate this year's debt? Dipping into the "rainy-day" fund.



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