Tuesday, 23 February 2016 17:14

Gov. Jon Bel Edwards blasts Treasurer Kennedy for irresponsible, false statements

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kennedy webcast1There he goes again.

Treasurer John Kennedy, who is doubling as a candidate for US Senate, has had a penchant lately for making statements to the media and to the public that just don't add up or make sense.

He previously told me that the budget is not as bad as the government claims it is.  In fact, when adding up the numbers, he essentially claims the budget is one-half as bad as the goverment claims.  So, if we are doing only twice as bad as he claims, then, maybe that explains why he gives us those easy solutions--cut waste, don't raise taxes.  We would have one-half, to cut.  Makes sense?

He complained about an auditor's report in which $1.8 billion is outstanding but failed to mention that over $1 billion is due to horizontal drilling.  He has been criticized by others for irresponsible statements. 

He excoriated the adminisration for not cutting salaries and yesterday, he even said you have to lead by example. I agree.  However, I have not yet heard his cutting his own salary or salaries of his own staff.

He said yesterday in a government hearing, under oath, that Governor Jon Bel Edwards is stopping TOPS and football.  Absolutely not.  The Governor has made it clear that if we do not get revenues, this might be the consequences.  Nobody has said anything about cutting TOPS or football and the threats he and others are making are students concerned, not as much as the statement made by the Governor during his recent speech to the public opening the special session. In fact, as previously reported, the Board of Regents told me that the governor received this information from them.  By the way, Governor Jindal's own appointeees populate the board.  

Not that Kennedy should not be appreciated for his insistance upon cutting government.  He should be applauded for focusing upon state contracts, which ballooned under Governor Jindal.  But repeating statements over and over such as patients going to the emergency rooms for warts and pimples, is great colorful rhetoric.  Perhaps the Treasurer should focus upon the real reason for the substantial budget shortage. Under Governor Jindal's desire to become President of the United States, we are giving away money more than we are taking in.    That's a lot of warts and pimples.  

So, it does not surprise me to see Edwards taking issue with the his statements by the Treasurer-US Senator hopeful.  Here is a press release from the governor:

Governor John Bel Edwards responded to comments from State Treasurer John Kennedy on WWL Radio regarding the state’s current budget crisis and solutions to fix it.

“When he’s running for office, as is currently the case, John Kennedy cannot take yes for an answer,” said Gov. Edwards. “No one disputes the size of our state’s budget deficit, except the treasurer, and the consequences of inaction are too severe to further politicize the problems we face. I have directed my staff to reduce government contracts, have unilaterally made spending cuts and proposed further spending reductions, and have asked the legislature to bring specific alternatives to the table – which has yet to happen. With so much at stake, we have to evaluate every option in a thorough process, rather than giving Louisianans false hope, like the previous administration, that our problems can be solved overnight.”

On WWL, the treasurer questioned the size of the state’s budget deficit, which is determined by the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC), yet has offered no evidence to back up this claim. The treasurer further suggested that Gov. Edwards was determined to close Nicholls State University, end LSU football, and close TOPS. However, Gov. Edwards is working diligently to find workable budget solutions that will prevent these things from happening. The governor has made several proposals to the legislature to avoid these consequences by passing a combination of spending cuts and proposals to raise additional revenue and fund these programs.

“It’s concerning that the treasurer of our state can't come to grips with the size of this problem,” Gov. Edwards continued. “While I am putting forward plans to protect higher education, healthcare, and TOPS, the treasurer is misleading the public to serve his own political agenda. We’ve seen that tactic used in the previous administration, and it’s in the best interest of everyone in the state to not be misled by these supposed 'quick fixes.' I will continue to work with the legislature to put solutions in place to protect higher education and other critical services. Trying to score political points, as Mr. Kennedy is working very hard to do, is a waste of time for the state.”

Regarding the Nicholls closure, the president of the university, Bruce Murphy, has said the reports were “erroneous” and “not a plan” and were not distributed from the governor. A recent report of the plans from Nicholls is available from theDaily Comet.

On Feb. 14, Gov. Edwards issued an executive order directing state agencies to evaluate their contracts and make recommendations byMarch 14thon where these contracts could be eliminated or reduced. A copy of the Executive Order is available by clickinghere.

Gov. Edwards also issued an Executive Order unilaterally cutting spending, proposed cuts to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget and the legislature, and wrote the special session call, or agenda, to allow for additional spending cuts and the elimination of government contracts. Initial cuts proposed by the governor totaled more than $160 million. A copy of that Executive Order is available by clickinghere. More than half of the governor's budget-solving proposals to correct the deficit are non-revenue raising measures.


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