Governor Jindal outlines six fiscal reforms - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Governor Jindal outlines six fiscal reforms

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By Tyana Williams - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - As Louisiana legislators work to balance the budget, there's talk of closing or merging some of the state's four year colleges.

Chairman of the senate finance committee, Senator Mike Michot, says the state's community and technical college system is asking for $200 million to build new schools across the state. But he says higher education is already on the budget chopping block. 

" We need to take the approach that everything is on the table," says Jindal. His slogan: It's a new day in Louisiana. And it may just ring true, saving health care and education from cashing out.

"Let's look at shutting down some of our smaller four year institutions," suggests Senator Michot, "and converting those to community colleges."

The senator says the state cannot continue asking taxpayers to foot the bill for 17 four-year schools, countless community colleges and techinical schools, especially after the community and technical schools have asked for $200 million to expand.

Jindal say his six-point plan would find savings in all areas, making government more transparent and accountable to taxpayers, eliminating money that is potentially wasted.

"One of savings DHH implemented," Governor Jindal explains, "eliminated travel funds in their budget for an advisory council that doesn't exist anymore."

Right now if the state faces a deficit, certain funds can only be cut by five percent every two years.  Jindal wants that changed to 10 percent every year.

"If we had the ability to cut 10 percent every year," Jindal says, "we could've reduced up to $338 million in mid-year reductions."

Jindal says every year school districts ask for money to help at-risk, poor, and gifted students, but the state never knows how the money helps. 

His reform would require schools to report how the funds are used, making the information available on the internet.

The legislature has to vote on the reforms before anything is changed. 

As far as the stimulus package is concerned, Jindal says they'll look at how those dollars will help the state, and see what strings are attached before they decide whether or not to use it in the budget. 

Jindal has outlined the following six fiscal reforms:

  • Increase the annual five percent cap on cutting dedicated budgetary units to ten percent
  • Eliminate the two-year limit on dedicated fund reductions
  • Enhance dedicated fund accountability
  • Enact a four-year sunset for all statutorily created funds
  • Ensure that public education spending is accountable, transparent, and targeted to areas that improve student performance
  • Create a user-friendly website to post school information for parents and the general public
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