Gov. Jindal announces $24.7B budget proposal

Friday, February 22, 2013 - 3:26pm

Governor Bobby Jindal is preparing to offer the legislature a $24.7 billion budget.

He revealed a handful of details about the plan Thursday, but refused to get into too many specifics.

The proposal is a billion dollars smaller than the final budget passed in the 2012 legislative session. The primary difference is that the governor's new plan includes 10,000 fewer state employees. Seven thousand of those are positions at LSU hospitals, which will disappear because of the partnerships formed between LSU Health and private hospitals around the state. He claimed that 90 percent of those workers would receive jobs at the private hospitals.

Nearly all the other positions, Jindal said, are currently vacant and would not be filled.

"At the same time," Gov. Jindal said, his plan "doesn't cut funding for K-12, doesn't cut provider rates in Medicaid, has the same total funding for higher education, so I think this is a good budget for Louisiana."

Gov. Jindal said a small funding decrease for higher education would be off-set by previously-announced tuition hikes, and he did not anticipate tuitions to increase any further during the coming year.

He added that he met with various groups of people, both from the legislature and private citizens, about the budget plan, and would continue to do so as negotiations progress.

Gov. Jindal said that voucher money is still included in his projections for the Minimum Foundation Program. His voucher program was ruled unconstitutional by a judge last November. Jindal said he remained confident that decision would be overturned on appeal.

The budget for the upcoming fiscal year must be approved by the state legislature no later than June 6, 2013.


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