Monday, 14 February 2011 12:38
BluePrint Louisiana Releases 14 Budget Recommendations
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Blueprint Louisiana today released a list of policy recommendations focused on Louisiana's budget challenges for the upcoming fiscal year.

Building on Blueprint's commitment to state government reform, the organization prepared a list of research-driven recommendations that deliver substantive budget solutions for Fiscal Year 2012 and provide real reforms to address long-standing issues facing Louisiana. The list of 14 recommendations provides an estimated $972 million to $1.64 billion in potential savings and new revenues for the upcoming budget cycle.


"The Blueprint Board of Trustees recognized last fall the state's budget challenges were considerable, and we felt compelled to develop a one-year blueprint that produces savings as well as improves how our state functions and serves its citizens," said Blueprint Louisiana Chairman Bill Fenstermaker, President and Chief Executive Officer of C.H. Fenstermaker & Associates of Lafayette. "We encourage not only thoughtful discussion about these and other ideas, but bold and decisive action to advance statewide priorities that build a foundation for sustainable government."

Unquestionably, some of the recommendations could be considered quite controversial including  opening up statutorily protected funds, and reducing 9,486 over two years. 

Most of the recommendations are general in nature such as reforming the charity hospital system.

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STATE GOVERNMENT

Recommendation

Potential Savings/New Revenue in FY 2012

Open up statutorily protected funding

$100+ million in potential savings

Reduce state workers by 9,486 over two years

$235+ million in potential savings

Reform state employee and teacher retirement systems

$25+ million in potential savings

Be "smart on crime" by revising outdated sentencing and parole guidelines

$2 million to $6 million in potential savings

Subtotal

$362 million to $366 million in potential savings

 

HEALTH CARE RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation

Potential Savings/New Revenue in FY 2012

Implement a Medicaid coordinated care system

$20+ million in potential savings

Reform the charity hospital system

$50+ million in potential savings

Maximize federal matching funds for current state health expenditures

$125 to $575 million in potential savings and new revenues

Implement a hospital provider assessment to generate new state dollars for the federal match

$245 million in potential new revenues

Strike the right balance of institutional, community and home-based care

$25+ million in potential savings

Subtotal

$465 million to $915 million in potential savings and new revenue

 

HIGHER EDUCATION RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendation

Potential Savings/New Revenue in FY 2012

Sharpen the focus on academic performance, and eliminate programs that don't meet acceptable standards

Millions in strategic reductions to re-invest in higher education

Undertake and incentivize structural reform

$25+ million in potential savings

Create management savings and efficiencies

$20+ million in potential savings

Grant more operational freedom to institutions

$10+ million in potential savings

Re-define the role of the legislature in setting tuition rates

$90 million to $300 million in potential new revenue

Subtotal

$145 million to $355 million in potential savings and new revenue

Blueprint has spent the past six months conducting research into these and other ideas. The result is an 18-page report that provides an explanation of each of the 14 recommendations and estimates potential savings and/or new revenue generated to help the state close its significant FY12 budget shortfall.

"Our state budget challenges continue to present an opportunity for meaningful reforms in government," Fenstermaker said. "Budget reductions are necessary, and we believe it matters immensely how those cuts are made. Our goal is a state government that operates more efficiently and is more sustainable in the future."

Blueprint Louisiana was established in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina. 

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