Monday, 06 February 2012 11:29
Jindal Borrows From ALEC Playbook For Government Costs, Efficiencies
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jindal_port_new _orleans-1Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

As recently as Jan. 31—less than a week ago—we told you that Gov. Bobby Jindal is following the playbook of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) almost to the letter.

 That playbook includes a section entitled “Tools to Control Costs and Improve Government Efficiency.” Among the “tools” it recommended were:

• Adopt a state hiring freeze;

• Reform state pensions;

• Delay automatic pay increases (we wondered where legislators came up with the term “automatic” in freezing merit increases a couple of years back);

• Embrace the expanded use of privatization and competitive contracting.

Each of these has already been done or is in the process of being done.

Next Thursday, the administration will present the governor’s Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2012-2013. Included in the budget will be the proposed sale of the Office of Group Benefits (OGB) for $189 million, to become effective Jan. 1, 2013.

The committee meeting is scheduled to be held at 9:30 a.m. in House Committee Room 5.

The $189 million apparently is the price tag derived by Morgan Keegan, the Memphis banking firm that stands to reap a $750,000 bonus over and above the $150,000 for assessing OGB’s value if it is successful in negotiating the OGB sale at the $189 million price.

Morgan Keegan was itself only recently sold after being fined $210 million nearly two years ago by the Securities and Exchange Commission for misrepresenting critical information to investors.

Whoever ultimately purchases OGB will take with them the $500 million surplus now carried on the OGB books which the new operators will use to pay claims.

LouisianaVoice has also learned that once the sale of OGB is successfully negotiated and the agency is taken over by private industry, premiums will rise by approximately 10 percent.

There are other proposed changes coming that we can tell you about next week.

We can tell you this much, though: It ain’t gonna be pretty.

by Tom Aswell, Publisher of Louisiana Voice

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