Last week, we were told that just to maintain the current year’s spending level for FY15 will require over $500 Million that the state is not projected to have.
In the just the last two days, alone, Jindal has promised over well $100 Million in additional expenditures for FY15.
Part of that figure is $60 Million for merit pay raises for state employees. Another is $40 Million in additional funding for Higher Ed for workforce development.
Jindal also promised that Higher Ed’s funding would not be reduced below the current year, which will mean that extra dollars have to be found to maintain the Higher Ed status quo.
Adding to the revenue requirements for FY15 is an additional $30 Million needed to continue the pay raises already given to roughly half of civil service employees during the current fiscal year.
Rock and hard place
Jindal may be putting the leges between a rock and a hard place.
It is likely that Jindal has cut some services that may be important to the public in order provide the promised additional funds and still have a balanced budget.
Since taxes cannot be raised during the upcoming session, the leges may have to decide whether to keep Jindal’s promises or to make sure important services are adequately funded.
The governor’s budget is merely a suggestion. The leges have the final say on what is and isn’t funded.
It may be time that the leges finally took a real in-depth look at exactly what is buried in a budget that has been incrementally increased since 1812.
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