Monday, 13 February 2012 18:06

Louisiana Politics: Welfare, Education Reform; Jindal's Speech, Budget

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jindal-jeffLouisiana State House of Representative, Rep. Cameron Henry, filed legislation today prohibiting the conversion of electronically issued welfare benefits to cash. Further, the legislation prohibits the use of such benefits for the purchase of certain goods and services.

House Bill 95 prohibits using Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) benefits in liquor stores, gaming establishments, and sexually oriented businesses.

 FITAP is the cash assistance program for needy families of Louisiana established under the Welfare Reform Act of 1996.

Henry said, "This money is supposed to be used for basic necessities and to ensure that families, especially children, are provided for and do not go hungry. It is appalling that taxpayer dollars can be used to purchase liquor, to gamble, or at any enterprise dealing in sexually oriented services. This legislation will ensure that benefits issued via electronic benefits transfer cards cannot be used for any of these purposes or converted to cash to be used for any purpose. Further, none of these types of businesses would be allowed to participate as a merchant in the electronic issuance system."

The prefiled legislation has been referred to the House Health and Welfare Committee which has jurisdiction over welfare issues. The bill will be scheduled for hearing after the 2012 Regular Session convenes on March 12th.

Louisiana state employees numbers drop

Michael DiResto, Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives Office of the Commissioner, Division of Administration for Louisiana emailed this bit of information to the media regarding the number of state employees and other civil service matters: 

The Legislative Auditor’s office today released a report looking at changes in state government employment and personnel numbers, using a start date of June 30, 2005, and an end date of June 30, 2011.  I thought you might be interested in the figures and the trend that covers the time span of the Jindal administration, with a start date coinciding with the last Civil Service report issued prior to the beginning of the Jindal administration, and a more recent end date.

Based on figures from the Department of State Civil Service, between December 31, 2007 and January 27, 2012:

  • The total “head count” of all employees in state government has fallen from 100,677 to 88,396, a reduction of 12,281, or 12.2 percent.


  • In terms of fulltime employees (or FTEs), the total has fallen from 93,554 to 79,559, a reduction of 13,995, or 15 percent.  These reductions have occurred fairly proportionally between the classified and unclassified workforce, as follows:


  1. oSince December 31, 2007, the number of classified fulltime employees has fallen from 62,260 to 53,465, a reduction of 8,795, or 14.1 percent.
  2. oDuring the same time period, the number of unclassified fulltime employees has fallen from 31,294 to 26,094, a reduction of 5,200, or 16.6 percent.


  • The “Annual Pay Rate” of all employees as recorded in Civil Service’s statewide employment report has fallen from $4.154 billion to $3.922 billion, a reduction of $232 million.


According to Civil Service historical data, even before the new position reductions proposed in the FY 13 Executive Budget, both the total number of state government employees and the number of fulltime employees in state government are already at their lowest levels in 20 years.


An archive of Civil Service’s Statewide Employment Reports can be found at:

"Education Reform"

The League of Women Voters of Baton Rouge's monthly Lunch With the League (LWL) public forum will be held Thursday, 2/16/2012 at Drusilla Place, registration at 11:30, program begins at Noon.     Across the state, citizens agree that we need education reform.  The LWL Panelists will discuss what form Education Reform should take and be passed by the LA Legislature.      The LWVBR's goal is to provide a public forum, which presents all points of view and potential solutions, so that the audience can leave in a position to make an informed decision of their own.

Confirmed Panelists in alphabetical order are:

Larry Carter - United Teachers of New Orleans, President

Steve Carter - State Representative, La House Committee on Education, Chair

Michael Deshotel - LA Educator Blogger, education researcher, retired teacher

John Bel Edwards - State Representative, La House Committee on Education member

Stafford Palmieri - Policy Director, Office of the Governor

John White - Superintendent of LA Dept. of Education

 This is an opportunity for Louisiana Citizens to learn about the different aspects of education reform, its cost, and long term effect on our children.  Finding common ground and working together Louisiana can develop long term solutions and alternatives.      .

    The luncheon will be held Thursday, February 16th, at Drusilla Seafood, 3482 Drusilla Lane, Baton Rouge.  Doors open at 11:30 and the program begins at Noon.       Reservations are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.   General admission tickets are:  $25.00; LWVBR Members receive a 20% discount.

Reservations are required to guarantee seating and may be made by credit card  by clicking on

 "Pay Here", which includes a $2 convenience fee. 

You may also make reservations by sending your Name, Mailing Address, Phone Number,

and E-mail address to [email protected]

or by calling the League Voice Mail at (225) 334-9999 or (225) 927-2255. 

Your Reservation confirmation will be e-mailed to you.

    Payment at the door is by cash and check only. 

The cost is $20 for LWVBR members and $25 for guests.

Jindal's budget

What they are saying about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s budget proposal presented Thursday

"Government can indeed do more with less," Rainwater said.

The budget also preserves funding for higher education at its current levels, assuming each of the programs in the system increase tuition this year.

A key element of the budget is Jindal's pension reform plan, which includes provisions to increase the retirement age to 67 for employees younger than 55, require employees to contribute 3 percentage points more of their paychecks to their retirement, enroll new employees in a 401(k)-style plan and merge two of the state's four retirement systems. The pension plan is expected to free up about $55 million in the state's general fund and $100 million in the higher education system.


Did you ever wonder if, when Gov. Bobby Jindal assembles his budgets he sits down and considers, "Who can I make angry this time?"

If that's his goal, he's a huge success.

The governor's proposed budget, with its privatization of education, prisons, health care and state employee insurance, angers a huge number of people.

Monroe NewsStar

LSU System President John Lombardi, the very vocal leader of a system that oversees 11 higher ed institutions in the state, is apparently pleased with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s treatment of higher education money in next year’s budget — so pleased he’s asking other LSU System officials to keep quiet on the budget unless they’ve got something nice to say about the governor’s plans.

Jindal Time at CPAC

Bobby Jindal spoke to the Conservative Political Action Commission (CPAC) early Saturday morning.

Here is a video of his presentation:

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