Monday, 14 March 2011 09:14
Louisiana Rep. Patricia Smith of Baton Rouge concerned over Jindal’s budget
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Rep. Patricia SmithAlthough Governor Bobby Jindal’s budget is only a few days old, it will likely face serious analysis as the state prepares to deal with a whopping $1.6 billion gap.

One of those voices who has appears concerned over the governor’s priorities and solutions is Democrat State Patricia Smith of Baton Rouge who represents District 67.   While Smith is Chairman of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, Smith responded to Bayoubuzz’s e-questions—speaking for on her own behalf and not for the Caucus.

Along with other committee assignments, Smith sits on the Appropriations and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget whom the goveror's Office addressed last week in providing budget details.

Here is Rep. Smith's response to Bayoubuzz's questions concerning Jindal's budget:

“I have some serious concerns with the budget. It is based on contingency dollars from the sale of prisons, which needs approval from the legislature, and a constitutional amendment.  Regarding TOPS that requires a 2/3 vote of the legislature and a vote of the people.  No guarantee that either will happen.

While protecting higher education and allowing for more autonomy via tuition and fee increases, students will indeed be affected more than the many corporations who receive tax breaks in the state.

There is concern over the number of state employees that are speculated to lose their jobs especially  those in Corrections which hinges on the sale of the prisons.  In addition, the rise in retirement rates especially for teachers who have not been able to receive raises but yet the benefits- retirement and health care continue to rise.

Privatization isn't always the answer nor does it really save money”

Smith also said she and others intend to review the budget much more closely as the state prepares for the upcoming committee hearings and she believes “the public will see more creative means of cutting costs as bills are filed for the regular session”.




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