Friday, March 13, 2009

Jindal proposes nearly 10% budget cut

Gov. Bobby Jindal introduced his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year this morning, which calls for a $2.89 billion spending cut from the current year. The proposed 2010 budget, which takes effect July 1, calls for $26.7 billion in spending, a decrease of 9.8% from the current budget.

The 2009-10 proposal unveiled Friday would be nearly 10 percent less than the state's current budget, even with nearly $1 billion in federal stimulus dollars plugged in to fill gaps. The new budget year begins July 1.

Jindal is proposing to cut more than 1,400 full-time jobs from the state budget and institute a long list of other belt-tightening measures, including closing state offices and ordering workers to telecommute. A proposed government streamlining measure is expected to generate $2 million in savings.

Jindal also proposes consolidating the state-run schools for blind and deaf students, moving the state college financial assistance office into the Board of Regents and ending the LaSwift program that was started after Hurricane Katrina to provide bus service from Baton Rouge to New Orleans for displaced hurricane victims.

Certain areas aren't proposed for cuts, including the state Board of Ethics, a voucher program for students in New Orleans and the free college tuition program known as TOPS.

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