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An examination in state surplus

By C.B. Forgotston -   Oct 31, 2013

Recently, Team Jindal announced a potential (unconfirmed) $162.9 million surplus for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

Never failing to take credit for real or perceived good news (nor avoiding taking responsibility for bad news), Gov. Bobby Jindal was quick to pronounce that the surplus was due to “job growth.”

Before the leges plan how to spend the extra cash, it’s important to note that about this time last year the estimated surplus for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012 was $130 million. When the surplus was officially confirmed in January of this year, it had dropped to $113 million.

Overlooked in the reports of the potential surplus are two factors that obviously contributed to most, if not all of it. The $129 million mid-year (December 2012) budget cuts to higher education and healthcare and a tax increase in the form of $31 million tuition hike at the public colleges and universities.

As to Jindal’s claim that job growth is responsible for the surplus, it is just as logical to argue that the mid-year cuts and tuition increases were unnecessary.

It is also just as logical to conclude that the surplus was simply the result of inaccurate revenue estimates.

The bottom line is that there is no cause for any back-patting for this surplus.

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