The Jindal administration is two-thirds of the way toward achieving savings called for in the state’s $25 billion budget for the current fiscal year, officials told a legislative committee Monday.
Of the $75 million in savings, the Division of Administration has recognized $50 million not quite halfway through the budget year which ends June 30, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee heard.
Finance Committee chairman Sen. Jack Donahue pushed for specifics, upset that big savings numbers were being thrown out without the committee knowing what was behind them.
“Did you not understand we were looking for specific information?” Donahue told DOA deputy commissioner Ruth Johnson.
Johnson said the specifics were available. But the panel had not been provided all of the back-up data which disturbed Donahue and other panel members.
Donahue, R-Mandeville, suspended the meeting until the information could be provided and told individual state agency officials to provide details as they talked about savings in their departments.
The administration updated the committee on goals contained in the Governmental Efficiencies Management Support report released in June. The overall report, submitted by private consultants Alvarez & Marsal, identifies more than $2.7 billion savings or revenue generating ideas that the state will implement over the next five years across all areas of operations. The ideas include maximizing federal funding, selling off state property, a major revamp of the state’s health insurance program, improving internal performance, preventing fraud and abuse, and more effective management of contracts.
About $1 billion of the savings is expected to come from the state Office of Group Benefits which provides insurance to some 230,000 state employees, teachers, retirees and their dependents. Changes are currently underway, including increased premiums and shifting more out-of-pocket expenses to plan members.
The Alvarez and Marsal report outlined more than $302 million in total savings and efficiencies for the current fiscal year - the $75 million plus funds collected by the state Department of Revenue and the revamp at Group Benefits. As of Dec. 8, total savings and efficiencies recognized in the current fiscal year $182 million.