Thousands turn out for Bobby Jindal's prayer rally at LSU; students, activists protest too _lowres

Advocate staff file photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- La. Gov. Bobby Jindal

Gov. Bobby Jindal is proposing to spend $526 million less on refundable tax credits next year, and direct that money to lessen the budget cuts on public colleges and health services.

The plan will be contained in the governor's budget proposal for next fiscal year, to be unveiled to lawmakers Friday.

For tax credits deemed "refundable," the state often pays out more than the actual taxes a person or business owes the state, simply writing a check for the difference.

Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols told The Associated Press on Thursday that Jindal wants to rework 12 such tax credits so the state doesn't pay more than the tax liability.

The savings would be split, with $150 million going to health care and the remaining $376 million going to higher education.

On Wednesday, Louisiana Democrats slammed Gov. Bobby Jindal for focusing on non-state issues and are calling on him to spend more time in Louisiana to help solve the state’s budget crisis.

“We need him here in the state of Louisiana,” state Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning. “I’m hoping and praying he will say to himself, ‘I have a responsibility, and it’s to be held accountable to the citizens of Louisiana.’ ”

A recent analysis from The Advocate found Jindal had spent nearly half of 2014 outside of the state. Jindal, who is considering a run for president in 2016, continues to travel this week as his administration prepares to release its proposal for the coming fiscal year. He’ll return to Baton Rouge from an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., on Thursday — the day before his budget recommendation is released.

This weekend, he’s slated to participate in a secretive meeting of the Club for Growth in West Palm Beach, Florida. According to the Miami Herald, that meeting will be open only to invited media.

The Jindal’s administration’s budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The state is bracing for a $1.6 billion budget shortfall that the Legislative Fiscal Office has attributed to the budget’s reliance on one-time money in recent years.