If a budget is a moral document, then Jindal’s soul is privatization. In unveiling his budget proposal for the coming financial year, which maintains spending levels on many sacred cows, offers no real reform. Instead, it is a blueprint and grab-bag of crony capitalism initiatives. Instead of cutting services, or honestly re-assessing priorities to align spending behavior, Jindal just proposes privatizing or selling off public assets. What else is new?
The budget also calls for privatization of a variety of state services. Under the proposal, the state will move offenders from the J. Levy Dabadie Correctional Center in Pineville to the Avoyelles Correctional Center in Cottonport and then go on to convert the combined center to a privately-run facility. The money earned from selling the facilities will go to the state’s “rainy day fund.”
Northlake Supports and Services Center in Tangipahoa and Northwest Supports and Services Center in Bossier City would also be privatized, a move the administration predicts will save the state $6.9 million.
The Gretna, Algiers and Chalmette ferries would also be privatized under the plan and the Edgard-Reserve ferry and White Castle ferry would be shut down. The plan also anticipates the end of tolls on the Crescent City Connection by handing over responsibilities for patrols to state police and local law enforcement.
I’m sure those in Avoyelles Parish will enjoy the second straight attempt at shutting down one of their largest employers, the corrections complex.
And, without fail, Jindal reaches back into the bag of budget tricks to balance his absurd ideological approach:
- Jindal also proposes the cut of 6371 state jobs, but you can bet most of those are vacant positions added to pump up the statistics.
- $709m in the Budget is tied to “fund sweeps,” meaning stealing cash from other reserves to plug the gaps Jindal intentionally creates
- $136m savings in Outsourcing (see privatizing) State-run children’s healthcare to private HMOs
- Sale of OGB (privatization – OGB would be run by private co) and slashing all 177 jobs in that office
- Raising payroll taxes on state workers by 3 percentage points (which is ~ 37.5% hike)
- $286m in savings will come from not funding anticipated cost increases, such as those that cover inflation for departments and cost-of-living increases for employees.
More to come. Jindal is solely focused on his national ambitions and his reputation with crony capitalists nationwide.