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Mar 11, 2011 7:35 PM by Melissa Hawkes

Governor Jindal Reveals State Budget

Negotiations with Governor Jindal and state legislators are underway about the state's budget. Jindal revealed a 250 page plan this morning.
Democratic State Senator, Eric Lafleur, said the governor's proposed budget's looks nice, but isn't very realistic.
He said, "I think what the members were expecting not to have these Hocus Pocus contingency plans. I think they were more interested in seeing we have a limited amount of dollars and if we have to have cuts show us where the cuts are."
The budget doesn't show higher education or health care taking a hit, but 2,000 state employees will lose their jobs and a number of others will take a pay cut. Republican State Representative, Page Cortez, said the state cutting the number of employees is a step in the right direction.
Cortez said, "my concern is increasing the pension on only a certain group of people and not increasing the pension plans across the board. I don't think we need to single out single state workers."
Also in the plans--selling three state prisons worth 85 million dollars.
Lefleur said, "if we do sell the prisons in essence we are borrowing that money from recurring expenses because whoever buys it, we are going to have pay them back."
Another issue is there's a 1.6 billion dollar shortfall which means more cuts could happen.
Cortez said, "they'll be a lot of debate, a lot of conversation among the legislature."
Lefleur said, "I think the members would rather this and the tax payers would rather this: here's the money. We have a few contingencies out there but realistically this is what we do."
Debate will continue when session resumes in April.

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