Appropriations Questions DOE Surplus

Apr 3, 2013

House Appropriations Chairman Jim Fannin and Vice-Chair Simone Champagne hear testimony from Department of Education officials as they continue sifting through the state's proposed budget.
Credit Louisiana House of Representatives

 While departments across the state are seeing steep cuts, the Department of Education has been getting more than it needs, according to accusations Wednesday in a House Appropriations Committee meeting.

Committee chairman Jim Fannin noted: year after year, the department has been allocated more money than it spent. In fiscal year 2012 the department's actual expenditures were $400 million dollars less than its $5.6 billion dollar operating budget.

Other departments go to the Joint Budget Committee between sessions for mid-year adjustments. Fannin said the department is evading the Joint Budget Committee –and shorting other departments by making its excess funds unavailable. “With $400 million, $200 million, over-budgeted, that means you can do whatever you want to without having to come back to Joint Budget,” Fannin said.

Fannin was dissatisfied with State Superintendent John White’s reasoning for the surplus. White said it reflects the nature of accounting for construction projects in Orleans Parish.

The Appropriations Committee will continue parsing each state department’s proposed budget for next fiscal year tomorrow with the Department of Higher Education.