By Robert Mann
If Louisiana’s economy is booming as Gov. Bobby Jindal keeps telling us, then why is he always mandating mid-year budget cuts and spending freezes?
Friday brought us yet another mid-year budget freeze, by virtue of an executive order Jindal issued late in the afternoon.
A booming economy of the kind Jindal boasts produces ample revenues for government. If businesses are booming, as Jindal assures us, then companies are hiring, payrolls are growing and those new employees are paying more in taxes. They’re buying more consumer goods, meaning increased sales tax revenues and added employment for the companies selling those goods.
In short, a real booming economy produces adequate government revenue. At the very least, a healthy state economy doesn’t force government leaders into constant mid-year budget cuts, garage sales of state assets and late-Friday budget freeze announcements (you’d almost think Jindal didn’t want us to notice that he’d been forced to freeze spending again).
Here’s the order Jindal issued. Many in the press received it, but as of early Friday evening it had not been posted on the governor’s website.
EXECUTIVE BRANCH – EXPENDITURE FREEZE
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. BJ 2014 – 4
WHEREAS, pursuant to the provisions of Article IV, Section 5 of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974, as amended, and Act 14 of the 2013 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, the Governor may issue executive orders which limit the expenditure of funds by the various agencies in the executive branch of State government (hereafter “expenditure freeze”); and
WHEREAS, underlying assumptions and needs in the development of the current year’s state budget would be altered by a decline in the State’s revenues and the interests of the citizens of our State are best served by implementing fiscal management practices to ensure that appropriations will not exceed actual revenues; and
WHEREAS, in preparation of the budget challenges in the ensuing year, Executive Order BJ 2014-1 Limited Hiring Freeze issued on January 15, 2014, is updated periodically, is related to the Expenditure Category of Personal Services, therefore Personal Services Expenditures will not be addressed in this Executive
WHEREAS, to ensure that the State of Louisiana will not suffer a budget deficit due to fiscal year 2013-2014 appropriations exceeding actual revenues and that the budget challenges in the ensuing fiscal year are met, prudent money management practices dictate that the best interests of the citizens of the State of Louisiana will be served by implementing an expenditure freeze throughout the executive branch of state government;
NOW THEREFORE, I, BOBBY JINDAL, Governor of the State of Louisiana, by virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution and laws of the State of Louisiana, do hereby order and direct as follows:
SECTION 1: All departments, agencies, and/or budget units of the executive branch of the State of Louisiana as described in and/or funded by appropriations through Acts 14 and 44 of the 2013 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature (hereafter
“Acts”), shall freeze expenditures as provided in this Executive Order.
SECTION 2: No department, agency, and/or budget unit of the executive branch of the State of Louisiana, unless specifically exempted by a provision of this Order or with the approval of the Commissioner of Administration, shall make any expenditure of funds related to the Expenditure Categories of Travel, Operating Services, Supplies, Professional Services, Other Charges, Interagency Transfers,
Acquisitions, and Major Repairs.
SECTION 3: A. The budget activities funded by the Acts which are exempt from the prohibitions set forth in Section 2 of the Order are as follows:
1. All budget activities directly related to declared emergencies;
2. All budget activities directly necessary for a statewide elected official to perform his or her constitutional functions;
3. All essential budget activities which are expressly and directly mandated by the constitution, existing court orders, existing cooperative endeavor agreements, or existing bona fide obligations;
4. All contracts associated with the transformation of state government that lead to future savings;
5. All essential budget activities of statewide control agencies;
6. All essential budget activities directly required for collection of state general fund revenues recognized by the Revenue Estimating Conference; and
7. All budget activities which are financed by Federal Funds directly.
B. Other budget activities funded by the Acts are exempt from the prohibitions set forth in Section 2 of this Order to the following degree:
1. Essential field travel, and supplies for incarceration, rehabilitation, diagnostic and health services, transportation of offenders, and probation and parole services related to adult corrections as well as positions and field travel for the Board of Pardons and Parole in the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Corrections Services;
2. Essential field travel, and supplies for juvenile secure care facilities and the Field Services Program in the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Youth Services;
3. Essential field travel and supplies related to direct patient care;
4. Essential State Police commissioned trooper expenses and cadet classes – not including personnel expenses – as well as data processing, communications, and crime lab positions in Public Safety Services, field travel for public safety and regulatory activities of the State Police, as well as automotive, aviation, and forensic supplies for the State Police;
5. Essential Wildlife and Fisheries commissioned agent expenses and cadet classes – not including personnel expenses – as well as data processing, and communications, field travel for public safety and regulatory activities of the Enforcement Division, as well as automotive, watercraft and aviation, supplies for the Enforcement Division;
6. Essential instructional and residential expenses – not including personnel expenses – field travel, and supplies deemed to be absolutely critical for the operations of Special Schools, Recovery School District, Special School District #1, and Youth Challenge;
7. Essential expenses for the State Military Department – not including personnel expenses – associated with the deployment for backfilling for active duty national guard personnel, and installation management and force protection;
8. Essential expenses related to the housing of state adult and juvenile offenders in local correctional or detention facilities or work release programs.
C. The budget activities funded by the Acts which are exempt from the portion of the provisions of Section 2 of this Order that prohibits the expenditure of funds for travel are as follows:
1. Essential travel associated with promoting or marketing the state of Louisiana and/or its products by: a) the Office of Tourism within the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism; or b) the Department of Economic Development;
2. Essential field travel for the Mental Health Advocacy Service and the Louisiana Public Defender Board;
3. Essential field travel required for the Office of Legal Affairs, district managers and roving motor vehicle workers in the Office of Motor Vehicles, and inspectors and arson investigators of the Office of the State Fire Marshal in the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Public Safety Services;
4. Essential field travel for the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service and the State Police Commission deemed to be essential;
5. Essential travel for the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for board meetings;
6. Essential field travel associated with Minimum Foundation Program internal auditors and field travel associated with the accountability initiatives and monitoring local teacher assessments.
D. The budget activities funded by the Acts which are exempt from the portions of the provisions of Section 2 of this Order that prohibits the expenditure of funds for supplies are as follows:
1. Essential expenditures of all departments, agencies, offices, boards, and commissions for supplies that total no more than seventy-five (75) percent of the initial appropriation for supplies for the department, agency, office, board or commission from State General Fund (direct) or State General Fund Equivalent for supplies expenditures;
2. Essential supplies for the Office of State Parks within the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism for maintenance and household needs to maintain state parks and commemorative areas;
3. Essential instructional supplies for post-secondary education;
4. Essential automotive supplies for travel exempted in Section 3.
SECTION 4: The Commissioner of Administration is authorized to develop additional guidelines as necessary to facilitate the administration of this Order.
SECTION 5: All departments, commissions, boards, offices, entities, agencies, and officers of the State of Louisiana, or any political subdivision thereof, are authorized and directed to cooperate in the implementation of the provisions of this Order.
SECTION 6: This Order is effective upon signature and shall remain in effect through June 30, 2014, unless amended, modified, terminated, or rescinded prior to that date.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my hand officially and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of Louisiana, at the Capitol, in the city of Baton Rouge, on this 4th day of April, 2014.