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.
Higher education funding will be protected next year, and in addition, Governor Jindal's pension reform package will save campuses over $100 million that can be reinvested into classrooms.
The Governor's budget will give more school choices to families and K-12 education funding is increasing from $3.39 billion in FY12 to $3.41 billion in FY13. Since Governor Jindal entered office, total K-12 funding has increased by 9 percent.
Governor Jindal's budget also expands access to critical health care services through BAYOU HEALTH and the Department of Health and Hospital's Behavioral Health Partnership. The budget also has no reduction in eligibility or elimination of services from Medicaid.
The FY 13 Executive Budget proposes total funding of $25.5 billion, a decrease of $61 million compared to the FY 12 total existing operating budget of $25.6 billion. In order to balance the budget, the Governor has proposed solutions that continue to reform and restructure state government with strategies that include consolidations, reorganizations, and privatizations that streamline government while protecting critical services.
As a result of this work, the budget for the upcoming fiscal year strategically reduces more than 6,000 full-time executive branch positions, which if approved, would bring the total to over 16,000 fulltime positions reduced since the beginning of Governor Jindal's administration. Even before this budget was proposed, the number of state government employees is already at its lowest level in more than 20 years.
Governor Jindal said, "Over the last four years, we have significantly reduced the size of government and improved the delivery of services for our people, but we still have challenges to overcome. Every challenge we face is an opportunity to make Louisiana a better for place for future generations.
"That's why we submitted a bold plan to protect higher education funding, give more school choices to families, put our pension system on a more sustainable path, and improve our business climate so that we can continue to make Louisiana the best place in the world to get a great education, pursue a rewarding career, and raise a family."
Click here for a complete summary of the Governor's budget.
LSU System President Dr. John Lombardi said, "All of us in higher education are grateful for the strong support of the Governor and his administration for the students, faculty, and staff of our institutions. The current budget proposal presented to the Legislature preserves the resources required to continue Louisiana's progress in providing higher education to its citizens. We look forward to working with the Legislature to ensure the successful passage of the budget that protects the state's higher education enterprise."
University of Louisiana System President Randy Moffett said, "This is welcome news for higher education. Governor Bobby Jindal's commitment to keep Louisiana's colleges and universities whole shows the value he places on education and recognizes the role higher education plays in the future of our state."
Louisiana Community and Technical College System President Dr. Joe D. May said, "Over the last several years, despite state revenue challenges, Governor Jindal has worked diligently advocating on behalf of higher education. We appreciate his continued support reflected in his proposed budget and we are pleased that our budget will be at the same level as last year's. The Louisiana Community and Technical College System will be able to continue to serve our students throughout the state preparing them for Louisiana jobs helping to improve our workforce."
Southern University System President Ronald Mason, Jr., said, "As Southern University schools transition into institutions that are more sustainable while continuing our core mission of providing of quality education statewide, it's important the state maintains its funding levels during this critical period. I commend the Governor for proposing a budget that makes no cuts to higher education. To grow our state's workforce and provide Louisiana students with a bright future -- we have to support and protect our higher education institutions."
Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell said, "Regents is extremely thankful that the Executive Budget maintains the current level of funding for our higher education entities and we greatly appreciate the effort of Governor Jindal in recognizing of the important role our colleges and universities play in building a strong state economy."
Board of Regents Chairman Bob Levy said, "I am encouraged that Governor Jindal was able to make higher education a priority in this year's Executive Budget allowing us to continue pushing forward with our performance-based reform efforts aimed at improving our overall efficiency and outcomes."