"Governor's Budget Proposal" follow-up - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

"Governor's Budget Proposal" follow-up

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BATON ROUGE, La., (KNOE 8 News) - Following the presentation of the upcoming year's budget proposal by Governor Jindal, his staff has released the administration's version of that budget:

"Today, Governor Bobby Jindal submitted a balanced budget proposal to the Legislature for the upcoming fiscal year that reflects a decrease of almost $1 billion in total funding compared to the current year, while also protecting critical services like education and health care.

Gov. Jindal said, "With this budget proposal, Louisiana continues to chart a path that expands economic opportunities for our people and protects education and healthcare funding while reducing government's footprint, not only shrinking its size and cost, but making government more effective and efficient by consolidating functions and applying smarter technologies that save taxpayer dollars."

Below are highlights of the Governor's FY 14 Executive Budget proposal. For a complete summary, click here.

REDUCING THE SIZE AND COST OF GOVERNMENT

  • The FY 14 Executive Budget proposes total funding of $24.7 billion, a decrease of almost $1 billion, or 3.9 percent, compared to the FY 13 total existing operating budget of $25.7 billion.
  • The FY 14 Executive Budget reflects reductions in the number of fulltime appropriated positions in the executive branch by 10,088.  Following prior reductions of 16,140 through budgetary actions, approval of this FY 14 recommendation would mean a total reduction of 26,228 fulltime appropriated positions since the beginning of the Jindal Administration.
  • Even before the new position reductions proposed in this budget, the number of state government employees is already at its lowest level in over 20 years.
  • Since December 31, 2007, the total "head count" of all employees in the executive branch of state government has already fallen from 100,677 to 82,027, a reduction of 18,650, or 18.5 percent, based on figures compiled by the Louisiana Department of State Civil Service.

PROTECTING INVESTMENTS IN EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE

  • The FY 14 budget maintains funding to campuses, with no change in total funding for higher education schools.
  • In FY 14, state aid to local K-12 schools through the Minimum Foundation Program will rise to its highest level yet, with total funding of more than $3.46 billion.  Taking into account the new dollars committed to the MFP in this budget, total MFP funding will have increased by $335.5 million, or 10.7 percent, since FY 08.
  • Despite Congressional action in July that reduced Louisiana's Medicaid reimbursement rate to its lowest level in 25 years, dealing a total impact of more than $1.8 billion to the department's budget, in the coming fiscal year the Department of Health and Hospitals will maximize cost savings in order to preserve critical health care services, even expanding the availability of services at the local level around the state.
  • For FY 14, DHH's total budget will go from $8.93 billion to $8.88 billion, an overall reduction of $54 million, by offsetting increased Medicaid costs through strategic reductions throughout the department.
  • Although the lower FMAP rate remains in effect, after annualizing its midyear reductions, the department is not making any further provider rate reductions.
  • In FY 14, the State will continue investing in local-level services in human services districts, taking steps to create four new human services districts so that, by the end of the upcoming fiscal year, each region of the state will have a fully functioning and independent local governing entity to more effectively deliver services at the local level.
  • With the help of the Louisiana Behavioral Health Partnership and its coordinated community-based services, Louisiana's behavioral health care system is now the strongest it has been since Hurricane Katrina, with a 30 percent increase in mental health services funding in the past four years.

REDUCING GOVERNMENT'S FOOTPRINT THROUGH REFORM, CONSOLIDATION, AND MODERNIZATION

The budget puts a major emphasis on reducing government's footprint, not only by downsizing, but by making government more sustainable, maintaining effective delivery of services through reform, reorganization, consolidation of functions, and using technology and modernization to operate more efficiently. 

Gov. Jindal said, "This budget proposal also reflects our belief that Louisiana's future success doesn't depend on a larger government that takes more resources away from our private sector economy, nor a larger role for government in the lives of our citizens.  Government can and must have a smaller footprint.  It must become nimbler, more compact, and more modernized, saving money while at the same time improving and protecting critical services."

Some of these reform efforts for FY 14 include:

  • The Louisiana Department of Revenue has taken steps to prevent e-filing tax fraud, in coordination with the IRS, through the installation and integration of new fraud protection software.  This modernization initiative will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the agency, and is estimated to generate $30 million in savings in FY 14.
  • With state government consolidating and reducing its footprint, it makes it possible to sell underutilized state government property, returning it to productive use while generating $47 million in savings that can be reinvested in services to the taxpayer.
  • In FY 14, the state will pursue debt collection reform, implementing a comprehensive plan that protects taxpayers by aggressively and persistently pursuing money owed to the state through more centralized collection efforts that coordinate more effective collections procedures and strengthen enforcement, conservatively estimated to save at least $10 million.
  • Similarly, the state will expand the federal reciprocity offset program beyond tax debts to also include administrative or non-tax offsets, a more comprehensive debt offset program that will save an additional $6 million.
  • The Division of Administration will implement a major department-wide consolidation, centralizing functions among numerous administrative sections to reduce duplication and save $8.6 million.
  • As previously announced, Governor Jindal will pursue reforms to refocus and rededicate the Office of Juvenile Justice's Families in Needs of Services (FINS) program with its original mission to care for at-risk youth before they end up on probation or in non-secure or secure care.  As a result, the state will improve the effectiveness of juvenile probation by moving toward an integrated case management model that will leverage dollars across agencies to recognize "crossover youth," significantly reduce the number of status offender and non-delinquent youth who continue deeper into the juvenile justice system, improve coordination and outcomes for these youth, and achieve savings of $7 million.
  • The Office of Group Benefits will see a further reduction of $6.75 million due to increased efficiency from centralizing administration of its plans, which when added to the $13.5 million reduction already made to OGB's base budget in the current year, reflects the annual $20 million in projected savings from third-party administration.
  • As previously announced, Governor Jindal will pursue sentencing reform for drug-related offenders, proactively seeking to treat current and future offenders whose offense is substantially related to their addiction problem. Instead of doing more harm than good by housing these offenders with other types of non-drug related offenders, these reforms will treat the root problem—addiction—in two ways: First, through the expansion of the highly successful Drug Court program, which operates only in some parishes and has capacity constraints, with a complementary and supplementary Department of Corrections treatment and monitoring program modeled after Drug Court for first and second drug offenders whose sentences are suspended; and second, through the conditional early release of non-violent first and second offense drug offenders to intense parole supervision, which is more rigorous than traditional parole, after successful completion of a 90-day drug treatment program and the approval of the Secretary of Corrections.  In FY 14, $300K in additional funds will be provided for parole and probation, and $1.75 million more for treatment, with net savings of $6.1 million from lower incarceration costs.
  • The Department of Education will consolidate its administrative office from six to three programs to improve operational efficiency, with a focus on successful implementation of education reform initiatives and providing support for local districts, saving $3.5 million.
  • Following a similar previous consolidation of back-office functions at Louisiana State Police, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and the Office of Juvenile Justice, the FY 14 budget includes several agency consolidations to share back-office functions such as human resources, information technology, procurement, and finance.  Moving forward, these functions will be consolidated and shared between the Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; and the Division of Administration with the Louisiana Department of Revenue.  This consolidation will help coordinate similar agency functions and reduce duplicative resources needed to manage them, achieving estimated savings of $2.9 million, while maintaining a high level of service in these areas.
  • The Department of Children and Family Services will achieve savings of $2.9 million associated with the consolidation of lease space statewide.

Click here to read the full summary of the Governor's FY 14 Executive Budget Proposal.

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