Not a lot of surprises emerged in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budget, but what ones did come from the specifying of details after months of general discussion were good to see, and brought Jindal nearer to his stated desire to see smaller, more efficient state government.
This one as a whole shows a small net spending decline despite small forecast increases in both the state general fund and federal funds, because of a roughly one-tenth decline in dedicated fund revenues. “One-time” monies total around $230 million, below the $377.5 million increase in the general fund revenue forecast between this budgeted and the fiscal year after, significant because of the House of Representatives rule that requires a two-thirds instead of simple majority vote to use such funds if they total higher than the forecasted change. (If this fails, the budget would cut from health care expenditures.)
As far what was known to be coming, the Jindal Administration will hope to breach the education special interests whose support of the current way of doing things continue to shortchange Louisiana’s children, but since that aggregate spending amount largely is cordoned off from politics, all Jindal could do was say no increase would come to that amount beyond that necessary by formula – appropriate as the state continues to shed students in its public school systems, even as reforms previously taken show some hope in reversing that. Jindal’s proposal to increase vastly parental choice is not budgeted in, but past data suggest it could drop spending levels and produce outcomes as least as good.