State Treasurer John Kennedy decried the robbing of transportation and other trust funds to balance the state budget for the fiscal year that ends Tuesday.
Kennedy said state treasury has been directed by the Louisiana Legislature to move $30.5 million to fill deficits. More than two-thirds of the money – $22.75 million – comes from the Transportation Trust Fund.
“We were forced to make these transfers because this was the administration’s plan for resolving the deficits,” Kennedy said in a statement released by his office. “By making these transfers, we’re diverting money for roads, coastal protection, education and health care.”
“The sad thing is we don’t have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem,” Kennedy added.
Other trust funds tapped and amounts include the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund, $2.18 million; the Oil Spill Contingency Fund, $3.12 million; the Conservation Fund, $3.82 million; the Education Excellence Fund, $669,411; and the health-care related Louisiana Fund, $1.1 million.
He said the Oil Spill Contingency Fund is being drained a month after California “mopped up oil from its coast.”
The Jindal administration did not directly respond to Kennedy’s trust fund concerns in a statement issued late Tuesday.
Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said: “We have created sustainable changes to the overall state operating budget that will continue our record of fiscal conservatism.”
Nichols noted that the new budget for the fiscal year that starts Wednesday includes $736 million in additional revenue, $626 million of which is recurring. She also said the budget “dramatically cuts our reliance on non-recurring revenue in half.”