Governor Bobby Jindal wants to utilize one-time funds to keep the state afloat. Jindal's proposed budget was unveiled Friday to the Legislature's Joint Committee on the Budget.
The Governor's budget it $24.7 billion in size. One-time funds make up only $424 million of it – but last year, the budget’s use of one-time funds was smaller than that, and those funds not coming through were partially to blame for mid-year budget cuts.
Kristy Nichols is Jindal’s Commissioner of the Division of Administration, and in charge of presenting the budget to the legislature. She defended the use of one-time funds, "We don’t think it’s prudent to make deeper cuts that are unnecessary when more funds are available."
Commissioner Nichols said that removing the $424 million would lead to a 19% reduction of the higher education budget.
She says all funds and expenditures are “one-time” because the legislature remakes the budget every year. But when some legislators use the term "one-time funds," they mean money that’s not a perennial guarantee.
Speaker Chuck Kleckley, who Jindal picked to shepherd his agenda last year, questioned the use of these funds. “I’ve been here a year as speaker, and we’ve gone through some very tough times. I don’t want to come back again and face some of the tough cuts that had to be made. None of us do," Kleckley said. "I just want to be cautious as we move forward in the budgeting process with any of these kinds of contingencies.”
Kleckley has sided with Jindal on many issues in the past, but regarding the governor’s fiscal plan, seems to have lost his appetite for budget cuts. “We’ve bottomed out,” Kleckley said.