Treasurer Kennedy Says He Will Be Back with Consulting Contracts Reform Effort Next Year

BATON ROUGE, La. – State Treasurer John Kennedy announced today that HB 142 requiring additional financial accountability and legislative oversight of state contracts was vetoed by the Governor, even though the bill unanimously passed the House (98 to 0) and Senate (37 to 0) and was supported by many University Faculty Senates.

“I thank Governor Jindal for his consideration. I am, of course, disappointed that we will continue to waste money on frivolous, overly expensive consulting contracts to the detriment of our taxpayers and higher education funding,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “However, it took six years to convince the Governor to support our new Office of Debt Recovery to collect money owed Louisiana taxpayers, so we will be back with our consulting contracts reform effort next year.”

HB 142 by Rep. Dee Richard provided that all state dollar contracts totaling $40,000 or more of General Fund and Over-Collections Fund dollars had to go to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget for final approval. The Joint Budget Committee could then approve the contract, ask for revisions, or disapprove the contract and direct the savings to higher education.

According to Treasurer Kennedy, Louisiana spent $1.6 billion from its general fund on higher education in 2008, reaching the southern average for the first time in 25 years. This year’s general fund spending for higher ed is $525 million-a 67% reduction. Even after taking into account tuition and fee increases on the backs of students and parents, total funding on higher ed is down $353 million.

“State funding for higher education in Louisiana is down 17.6 percent this fiscal year alone – the most dramatic reduction in America – while 3/4ths of states have raised their higher education funding,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “Louisiana’s colleges and universities need money. There’s a way to help them without raising taxes or tuition: reduce spending on state government’s consulting contracts.”

Michelle Millhollon
(225) 342-0012