State Budgets 2012: Louisiana


To see more state budget news and information, visit State Budgets 2012.

Budget Background:

  • Fiscal Year Begins: July 
  • Frequency of Legislative Cycle: Annual
  • Legislative Session for 2012: Convened March 12, 2012
  • Frequency of Budget Cycle: Annual

Learn more from the National Association of State Budget Officers

Budget News and Information: 2012

6/3/12: Louisiana lawmakers wrap up work on $25.6B budget

The Louisiana House on Sunday gave final approval to a $25.6 billion budget for the next fiscal year that contains hundreds of millions more in spending than what a group of conservative Republicans wanted, wrapping up one of the biggest unresolved issues a day before lawmakers end the regular session.

The House, on a 62-40 vote, approved the Senate version of the spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1. The vote gave final passage to the measure, sending it to Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The package of bills contains $270 million in one-time money to balance the budget. A group of House Republicans called it irresponsible to use the patchwork funding to pay for services that will reappear year after year.

The House also gave final approval Sunday to legislation that will tap the state's "rainy day" fund to eliminate a $200 million-plus budget deficit for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. The vote was 73-28.

Fannin said the state doesn't have enough money left in the general fund to close that gap without using the Budget Stabilization Fund.

Sunday's action means the budget will remain largely flat, with less than 1 percent growth. The state's Medicaid program will see a hefty increase in funding, while public colleges will face more cuts. A state prison in northwest Louisiana will be closed. Private companies will be hired to run facilities for the developmentally disabled and several Mississippi River ferries.

Higher education will take the biggest hit — about a $70 million cut — with only a portion offset by tuition increases. Also, the governor's budget office, the Division of Administration, will be required to find another $15 million in savings, and colleges will likely feel part of the impact of that, too.

As many as 2,700 state employees face layoffs.

Read More: The Times-Picayune


5/31/12: Louisiana Senate passes budget

Louisiana senators easily passed the state's $25.6 billion spending plan for next year,  preserving House Bill 1 in nearly the same form it had when it left a Senate committee earlier this week. The stage is now set for another budget showdown in the House, where representatives who stripped $268 million in one-time money from the governor's proposed budget only to see it reinstated by the Senate vow to fight to reinstitute the cuts when the budget comes back to their chamber. 

That fight could also create new controversy over the use of the so-called "rainy day fund" to help fill a $220 million hole in this year's budget that must be plugged by June 30. A House committee gave initial approval to the use of the money Thursday night, over the objections of representatives who opposed the use of one-time money in the budget..

Read More: The Times-Picayne


5/2/12: House deals setback for proposal for state employees' retirement

The House dealt a significant setback to a plan to enroll new state employees in a 401(k)-style plan Tuesday, with members requiring that those placed in the new system also be put into Social Security.House Bill 61 would replace the pensions for most new employees with one based mainly on market returns as has been pitched as a way of keeping retirement costs in check for state government. But requiring that state employees, who are not now part of the Social Security system, enroll in the program could more than double the costs the state pays for each employee.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has pushed for the legislature to adopt a "cash balance plan" for new employees as part of a larger overhaul of the state pension system, which is now more than $18 billion short of the amount that would be required to pay for employee retirement benefits.

Read More: The Times-Picayune


5/1/12: House backs tax rebate for Hornets

The Louisiana House on Monday scaled back and then approved a $3.65 million annual tax rebate for the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets — part of a state deal to keep them in the Crescent City.After defeating an amendment that conditioned the Hornets’ tax rebate on a new contract for Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the Louisiana House approved House Bill 1072 on a vote of 61-37. The Hornets of the National Basketball Association and the Saints of the National Football Association are both owned by Tom Benson, a car dealer from San Antonio.

Read More: The Advocate


3/27/12: Jindal budget increase for health care criticized by House committee

The chairman of the state House budget-writing committee Monday criticized the Jindal administration’s proposed $678 million increase in the state health agency’s budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. “My concern overall is when I see this kind of growth ... that I’ve not seen it in anyone else’s budget,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, said. “I don’t see growth in revenues to take care of the growth you have proposed in your budget.” 

Fannin also said it is troublesome that the proposed state Department of Health and Hospitals’ $8.96 billion budget relies on $203 million in one-time state money to fuel recurring spending. The money is used to attract $506 million in federal funds.

Read More: The Advocate


3/21/12:Louisiana university leaders at odds over budget plans

Tensions surfaced Tuesday over the Board of Regents’ plans for divvying up dollars among Louisiana’s public colleges as university leaders face lost money for certain campuses. The board is proposing to split about $1 billion in state funding based on its performance-based formula, which considers graduation rates, skills training for high-need job areas and other benchmarks — rather than doling out dollars solely on student enrollment.Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budget proposal for 2012-13 would send all the state money to the board to divide, rather than allocating money to the four individual university systems.

Read more: The Daily Reveille


3/16/12: La. Secretary of State to call for museum closings amid budget cuts

Secretary of State Tom Schedler told state officials Thursday that if cuts to his budget are not restored, he will recommend closing all but two of the regional museums his office operates. Schedler, a member of the State Bond Commission, told the panel that he will probably recommend that the state continue to operate the recently renovated Old State Capitol, a political research center in Baton Rouge, and the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport. By law, Schedler cannot close museums, but he can recommend closures to the Legislature in times of tight money.

Read more: The Times Picayune

3/14/12: La. Senate worries about balancing budget if bills don't pass

Louisiana legislators could be left scrambling to fill gaps in the state budget if several key elements of Gov. Bobby Jinday's agenda fail to pass this session. The largest gap could be from the failure to enact Jindal's proposed pension plan overhaul, which the administration projects will save the state $450 million this year. If it is not passed, staff with the Legislative Fiscal Office told senators at a Finance Committee hearing, there will be a $120 million shortfall in the budget. Senators expressed concern at basing a balanced budget on how legislators will vote on other bills.

Read more: The Times-Picayune

3/12/12: Analysis: La. budget proposal built on uncertain assumptions

Next year's $25.5 billion budget proposed by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration is built on a series of assumptions, some of them shaky and uncertain, to make the numbers work and the spending plans balance.  Lawmakers combing through the governor's proposals are starting to peel back the layers and are questioning how precarious some of the funding might be.  Jindal's spending plans for the 2012-13 budget year assume that lawmakers will pass a set of sweeping changes to the pensions offered to state workers, that the state will sell a mental hospital in New Orleans, that legislators will shuffle dollars away from certain dedicated funds and that state agencies will find private companies to run services more cheaply.

Read more: Alexandria News

2/28/12: Medicaid change won't derail balanced budget, Gov. Bobby Jindal says

The payroll tax cut extension signed into law last week by President Barack Obama included $1 billion more in Medicaid money for Louisiana than it was supposed to get under a special disaster recovery provision added to the health care law by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., but $2.5 billion less than the state might have hoped to receive if a flaw in the drafting of the provision had not been discovered. But, during a visit to the National Governors Association Winter Meeting, Gov. Bobby Jindal seemed unfazed by the potential impact on the state budget of the adjustment in the state's "FMAP" funding.

Read more: Times-Picayune



2/9/12: Gov. Bobby Jindal budget proposal includes privatization, pension overhaul to balance budget

Gov. Bobby Jindal plans to close a $900-million budget shortfall by cutting almost 6,400 state jobs, overhauling the state pension system and privatizing some prisons and health centers. Gov. Bobby Jindal seeks to close a budget shortfall with changes to state pensions, job cuts and some one-time money. The proposal would also privatize ferry service in the New Orleans area and would rely on $230 million in one-time money to balance the budget.  Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater presented the governor's $25.5-billion budget to lawmakers for the first time Thursday morning at a joint legislative hearing. The plan comes in about $61 million less than last year's budget.

Read more: Times-Picayune

2/9/12: Press Release: Gov. Jindal: Budget Protects Higher Ed, Transforms K-12 Schools, Reforms Pension System, Expands Health Care Services, Does Not Raise Taxes

Today, Governor Bobby Jindal submitted a balanced budget to the Legislature for the upcoming fiscal year that protects higher education funding, fundamentally transforms Louisiana’s K-12 education system, reforms the state’s pension system, expands health care services, and does not raise taxes.

Read more: Office of Governor Jindal

Budget News and Information: Previous Budget Cycles


5/10/11: Tax-break bills stall in House; advance in Senate

Tax breaks that would reduce state revenue breezed through a Senate committee Monday, while similar bills stalled on House leaders' orders on the other side of the State Capitol.

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5/9/11: Jindal orders partial spending freeze for agencies

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered a partial freeze Monday on state spending for travel, supplies, contracts and other operating services in most state government agencies for the remaining two months of the fiscal year. Jindal's executive order was issued to help free up some money in state agencies that could be carried over to the next 2011-12 year to help lessen the blow of a more than $1 billion state budget shortfall.

Read more:

4/26/11: Jindal bashes tax ideas

Gov. Bobby Jindal opened the 2011 regular legislative session Monday with strong criticism for tax hike proposals. “Tax increases kill jobs,” the governor said. “Tax increases kill opportunities. Tax increases hurt economic development. Tax increases hurt our ability to attract new businesses into Louisiana.” Jindal’s speech kicked off a two-month-long session that largely will focus on balancing the state operating budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Read more:

4/24/11: Crafting a budget is biggest challenge for legislators this session

As state legislators dig in for the arduous task of crafting a budget at the annual session that began Monday, they find themselves with less money to spend and an anti-tax climate that leaves them with few palatable options. The $24.9 billion state budget presented by Gov. Bobby Jindal is the focal point of the two-month conclave, where the agenda also includes the potential merger of the Southern University at New Orleans with the University of New Orleans and sideshow debates on abortion, the Ten Commandments, birth certificates for presidential candidates and dozens of other issues.

Read more:

4/9/11: Louisiana economic development funds could soon be tapped out

Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret faces a dilemma: As business investment picks up and the national economy begins to recover from the worst recession in decades, the state's financial incentive programs for attracting industry are growing thin. Moret told legislators last week that he expects the $56 million that remains in the state's Mega-Project Development Fund to be depleted by the end of the year, while the state's Rapid Response Fund continues to shrink. The mega fund, which is designed for large-scale development projects, started with $300 million in 2008-09, Gov. Bobby Jindal's first budget cycle, while the Rapid Response Fund contained $40.9 million. But most of that money has been spent on various projects, including a north Louisiana poultry plant and the Federal City project in Algiers, while the rest of the money is tied up in offers the state has made to targeted companies.

Read more:

4/6/11: Louisiana civil service body freezes pay for second year

Louisiana's state workers won't be getting pay raises for a second year. The Civil Service Commission voted 6-1 Wednesday to back Gov. Bobby Jindal's request to freeze employee salaries and block annual "merit raises," as Louisiana grapples with a budget shortfall. The decision affects 56,000 rank-and-file government workers, called classified employees. The Jindal administration says agencies can't afford the 4 percent pay raises, which are based on annual evaluations, and civil service leaders agreed.

Read more:

3/27/11: Jindal's plan relies on 'efficiencies'

Gov. Bobby Jindal's executive budget, which leaves general funding for higher education untouched, relies on finding millions of dollars of efficiencies throughout state government. But some policymakers say dependence is too ambitious and could cause budget cuts further down the road.

Instead of simply making sweeping funding cuts to individual programs — like the 32- percent cut for which higher education administrators were told to prepare last semester — the administration seeks to make departments throughout the state more efficient.

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3/23/11: Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne sounds alarm on budget cuts to parks, libraries, tourism promotion

State parks, libraries, arts and tourism promotion programs would be shortchanged under Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget proposal, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne said Wednesday as lawmakers continued poring over the governor's spending recommendations. Dardenne told the House Appropriations Committee that Jindal's budget takes $7.6 million from a fund dedicated to state parks maintenance to pay for operating expenses. Other cuts are imperiling arts programs, and threatening the ability of the state library to provide books and Internet access at community libraries across the state, said Dardenne, whose office oversees those areas.

Read more:

3/23/11: La. budget problems forcing school districts into layoffs, other cost cutting moves

State budget problems are forcing a growing number of public school districts into layoffs and other cost-cutting moves, educators said Tuesday. State services face a $1.6 billion shortfall in the budget year that starts July 1, and higher education and health care have been especially hard hit by months of cutbacks.

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3/23/11:Jindal budget plans at issue

Discussion of Gov. Bobby Jindal's $24.9 billion proposed state operating budget got underway Tuesday with questions about prison sales and a program for troubled students.

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3/21/11: Jindal releases budget proposal

Gov. Bobby Jindal's proposed $24.9 billion state spending plan would impact the public through higher costs for college students and smaller paychecks for state workers. The end goal is to eliminate a $1.6 budget shortfall in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

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3/17/11: Jindal launching anti-tax ad on TV

Gov. Bobby Jindal's Thursday launch of an anti-tax increase ad campaign coincides with a push by faith leaders for a higher tobacco tax.Five religious leaders plan to ask the legislature to increase the cigarette tax by $1.25 a pack.

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3/15/11: Louisiana survey shows budget worry

Louisianians are less confident the state is headed in the right direction now than they were in 2010, according to a study conducted by the Manship School of Mass Communication's Public Policy Research Lab. The Louisiana survey, which the lab has conducted annually since 2007, indicates 41.1 percent of Louisianians believe the state is headed in the right direction. That's down about seven percentage points from 2010's 47.5 percent, and down almost 10 points from the survey's high-water mark in 2008.

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3/15/11: Lawmakers hold budget summit at SLU

A group of legislators vowed on March 14 to fight for Southeastern Louisiana University during the upcoming legislative session.

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3/15/11: Survey: Cut costs, increase some taxes

Nearly half the people responding to a new public opinion survey favor a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to resolve a state budget shortfall. The strongest support among the 725 people polled between January 18 and March 1 was for the so-called "sin" taxes that target gambling as well as alcohol and tobacco consumption.

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3/13/11: Cigarette tax hike could gain support

At just 36 cents, the state's current per-pack levy is the third-lowest in the nation, higher than only Virginia and Missouri. Louisiana charges less than the major tobacco-producing states' average rate of 48.5 cents, and well below the national average of $1.45, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Sen. Joel  Chaisson has floated the idea of matching Mississippi's rate of 68 cents, the lowest of the surrounding states.

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3/11/11: Louisiana Gov. Jindal's $25B budget proposal criticized for types of cuts, uncertain financing  

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's $24.9 billion budget would close outpatient pharmacies for the poor, scrap at-risk youth education programs and cut funds for charity hospital care, parks and museums, and state employees. To keep the budget balanced, Jindal's 2011-12 spending plan anticipates millions of dollars that still need separate legislative approval and, in one case, backing from voters in a statewide referendum this fall.

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3/7/2011: State adds $178 million to budget forecast

Louisiana's budget outlook brightened by $178 million on March 7 when state officials revised revenue projections for the current and next fiscal years. Exactly how the money will be used remains unclear.

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3/6/11: Revenue estimating conference could recognize more revenue for Louisiana

Louisiana's Revenue Estimating Conference -- a four-member panel that decides how much money the state can spend each year -- is scheduled to meet Monday, March 7 to revise the official revenue forecast. When the panel met in mid-January, economists from the Division of Administration and the Legislative Fiscal Office agreed that the state is likely to take in at least $200 million more than originally projected during the current and upcoming fiscal years.Brief summary of the news article.

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