DALLAS — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal presented the Legislature on Friday with a proposed $24.93 billion operating budget for fiscal 2012 that allocates $1.12 billion less than in the current fiscal year.
Jindal said the budget protects funding for higher education, public education, and health care without raising taxes or increasing the state’s reliance on one-time revenues for recurring expense.
“This is a budget that is leaner,” the Republican governor said. “We don’t have to make drastic cuts to higher education and health care in the short term.”
Jindal said he would veto any tax increases adopted by the Legislature.
“We have already seen the ideas about hospital taxes, increasing taxes on natural gas drilling, raising taxes by delaying tax cuts, and maybe we will even have a Twinkie tax before the session is over,” he said. “I will save you the trouble of asking us if we will support those proposals — the answer will be flatly 'no.’ ”
The budget resolves a revenue shortfall that was once projected at $1.6 billion with $1 billion of cuts and $474 million of one-time revenues.
Jindal said the state would cut $410 million from current state agency budgets and save another $110 million by maintaining budget cuts ordered earlier in fiscal 2011. Another $96 million would be saved by cutting 4,000 state jobs, he said, of which 2,000 are not now filled.
State funding for public education will increase, but the base level of per-student funding will remain at current levels, he said.
Jindal said he would maintain higher education spending at current levels by allocating $105 million of state funds next year to help compensate for the loss of federal stimulus dollars. The higher education budget also includes $98 million in one-time revenues and another $90 million from a possible 10% increase in college tuition.
“I want to make it very clear for colleges,” Jindal said at a news conference. “When I say the funding is the same in ’11 and ’12, it is the same.”
State aid for public education will increase to $3.38 billion in fiscal 2012, up from $3.31 billion in fiscal 2011. The state allocation will remain at $5,038 per student.
Paul Rainwater, Jindal’s director of administration and chief budget officer, said the $474 million of spending supported by one-time revenues includes $57 million for one-time expenses and $417 million for recurring expenses.
The governor’s budget incorporates last week’s increase by the Revenue Estimating Conference of expected general fund revenues. The panel raised fiscal 2012 expected revenues by $65.8 million to $8.26 billion, and fiscal 2011’s expected revenues by $112.2 million to $7.83 billion.
The executive budget is supported by $8.26 billion of general fund revenues, $2 billion of fees and self-generated revenues, and $3.73 billion of tax revenues dedicated for specific efforts.
Jindal’s $24.9 billion budget includes $11 billion of federal funds.