Budget

State Treasurer John Kennedy on Louisiana’s Budget

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In a recent speech to the Houma Rotary Club, Louisiana State Treasurer John Kennedy has called for the state government to cut the fat out of the budget. In Kennedy’s opinion, the state government has more than enough money to cover the basic government services that are absolutely needed.

“We have plenty of money to deliver the vital services the Louisiana government ought to provide,” Kennedy, a Republican, told the Houma Rotary Club.

At the same time, the government could do much more to rein in spending, particularly when families and businesses are being forced to do the same, he said.

“It can be done; they just haven’t tried,” he said. “One of the things I’ve learned in government is its belly has no bottom.”

The manager of the state’s $5 billion budget and unsuccessful challenger to U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., spoke about his views on fiscal matters. Of particular focus was Gov. Bobby Jindal’s $26.7 billion budget for next year, which will cut spending by 9.8 percent and eliminate about 1,400 government jobs.

One of his most interesting comments was when he noted that Louisiana has the highest ratio of state and local employees per 10,000 people in the Southern States, and that this might be one of the contributing factors to our current budgetary problems.

He then went on to castigate our state’s system of taxes, which he views, quite correctly, as a burden on the free market.

For example, Louisiana has the country’s eighth-highest rate of state and local taxes paid per $1,000 of personal income, he said. It’s also eighth in state spending per capita, but 47th in per-capita income.

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