In Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed budget, there are numerous dubious funding sources, but few raised eyebrows liked the deal the governor wanted with the New Orleans Convention Center.
Desperate for cash this year to balance the budget, the governor proposed taking $50 million from the center’s funds and “repaying” the money with future borrowing, $75 million for capitol projects for the convention complex.
At the State Capitol, people are pretty jaded by the endless and often devious procedures by which Jindal has put one-time money into the operating budget. But this, though perhaps a good deal for the convention center, was too much.
“We’re taking out an expensive long-term loan to pay for this year’s operating budget,” groused state Treasurer John N. Kennedy at the annual meeting of the Public Affairs Research Council.
The House Appropriations Committee agreed, taking that particular credit card from Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols.
She protested, and well she might: With such a house of cards that is the proposed budget, $50 million in cash is a lot of money.
Significant budget cuts will be required, at least around the $75 million number that was the original cost of the convention center deal.
But that won’t be expensive long-term financing for the fiscal 2015 operating budget. The Appropriations Committee made the right call.