From the Publisher: June 2016
● By Robert Frey
Waste Not, Want Not
By Art Suberbielle
Don’t look now, but Baton Rouge is about to pick your pocket. After spending 85 days in Baton Rouge handling the state’s business, the legislature still is coming up somewhere north of $600 million short for the next fiscal year’s budget. Guess where they’ll be looking for more money?
At the time of this writing, it is anyone’s guess where the legislature will find the money. But they are bound by the state’s constitution to find it before the new budget year starts. So Governor Edwards has called a special session to find the money. And sooner or later, the money will come from you and me. If reason were to prevail, a good portion of these funds could be found by eliminating wasteful spending. Consider these examples.
Louisiana has at least 18,710 consultants on the payroll, according to State Treasurer John Kennedy. Why do we need all of these? Many of these consulting contracts are awarded to out of state companies. Contract #717427: “Research on the effects of the Macondo Oil Spill on Coastal Ecosystems.” University of Tennessee: $551,797. Contract #714507: “Research on the Effects of the Macondo Oil Spill.” Rutgers University: $413,357. These two alone amount to nearly a million dollars. And why go out of state to do the research? Probably could be done less expensively here. There’s many more examples like Contract #681869: “State sponsorship of Chimpanzee Discovery Days…” Chimp Haven Inc.: $10,000. Do we really need this? Wasteful! Why can’t Baton Rouge set priorities and live with them. Want more? WWL TV in New Orleans reported that UMC New Orleans spent $1.1 million for 2 pieces of artwork from out-of-state artists. When was the last time you noticed the artwork at any hospital?
Why are we wasting the precious little money available? Let’s insist our legislators learn to be more frugal and set priorities for spending only the funds we have available. Stop digging in our pockets for more cash to fund these excesses.