Jindal’s cuts largely spare health care and higher education from the damage of an across-the-board reduction in spending.
The Governor’s plan included a reduction of $38.2 million to statutory dedications, as well as a reduction of $66.2 million in general fund made available by passage of the TOPS fund constitutional amendment.
The Governor’s plan funds the increased student count for the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) for K-12 education. While the overall budget has been reduced by 26 percent since 2008, between FY08 and FY12, the total MFP has increased by $304.3 million from $3.12 billion to $3.43 billion, or 9.7 percent.
Governor Jindal said, “This is a responsible plan that balances the budget without raising taxes and protects higher education and healthcare. Like families and businesses across the state, we must live within our means and raising taxes would only push the burden on to our people.
“To eliminate the shortfall, we asked departments to identify targeted cost-savings measures to cut spending while protecting critical services. For many departments, these savings came as a result of reducing operational expenses in travel, supplies, acquisitions, operational services and professional services. Additional savings were achieved as the result of the hiring freeze we implemented at the beginning of this fiscal year, which generated $15.7 million in savings.”
While the Constitution allows 30 days for the Governor to eliminate a deficit, Governor Jindal took immediate action because if each department were allowed to continue making expenditures based on the current budget it would only mean more severe reductions in the future.