Treasurer Kennedy: Higher education should get first right of refusal on state contracts involving federal funds

BATON ROUGE, LA – Legislation filed by state Rep. Lance Harris will benefit financially struggling public colleges and universities by steering more federal funds to them, according to State Treasurer John Kennedy. “Rep. Harris’ bill is a great proposal for two reasons,” said Treasurer Kennedy. “First, it will direct more money to higher education, which desperately needs the dollars. Second, it will take control away from NGOs and consultants that are wasting taxpayer money on salaries, luxury cars, vacations and fine dining.” House Bill 376 will prioritize public colleges and universities – instead of consultants and NGOs, or nongovernmental organizations – for the administration of federal dollars made available to the state for grant programs. Currently, these funds go to consultants and NGOs with little oversight from state government. “For too long, the Board of Regents – the citizens responsible for the solvency and health of our state’s universities – has not had full ability to pursue outside grants to bolster their missions. This bill helps put higher education in Louisiana first,” said Rep. Harris. The legislation will develop a clearinghouse for contracts and grants that can be handled by higher education. State agencies will contact the clearinghouse before offering the work to NGOs and consultants. Typical contracts involve after-school tutoring, services for the homeless and job counseling. “Our colleges have a lot of expertise. I know they can do this work, and I know they can do it without a lot of the abuse that currently exists. This new procedure will help taxpayers and help our colleges at the same time,” said Treasurer Kennedy.

Michelle Millhollon
(225) 342-0012