Louisiana could avoid repeated revenue shortfalls and be able to adequately fund higher education if the state’s spending were more rational, Treasurer John Kennedy said last week in Lake Charles, La.
“We have enough money,” Kennedy said in an address to a civic club. “It’s not about how much money we have. It’s about how we spend the money we do have.”
The official budget outlook from the Revenue Estimating Conference predicts $8.1 billion in state general fund revenues in fiscal 2013, up from $7.86 billion in fiscal 2012 and $7.77 billion in fiscal 2011.
“In government, your priorities aren’t where you say they are,” Kennedy said. “It’s where you spend your money.”
Kennedy said the Legislature in June adopted a $25.6 billion budget for fiscal 2013 that included almost $300 million of one-time revenue to balance the spending plan.
“We have an enormous amount of one-time money included in the budget,” he said.
The state could easily eliminate much of the $7 billion a year it spends on more than 19,000 consulting contracts, Kennedy added.
“I’m not saying these contracts are bad or that anything illegal is being done,” he said. “What I’m saying is we spend about $7 billion a year on consulting contracts.”