Kristy Nichols

At first, it seemed as though everyone was breathing a sigh of relief, as the 2016 executive budget proposal unveiled last week did not slash higher education as deeply as expected.

“The true reduction to higher education is $211.3 million,” Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols told the Joint Budget Committee last Friday.

But Nichols went on to admit that number is built on “ifs” and “maybes” that include capping the business inventory tax credit, as well as asking college students to pay what the administration is calling an “excellence fee”.

One component of the Jindal administration’s 2016 budget proposal, revealed Friday, involves holding the line on spending in the public-private hospital partnerships. The private partners in the LSU hospital deals had asked for an additional $142-million in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

“What we funded these hospitals for was level funding, effectively,” Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols detailed to the Joint Budget Committee. “And some of the hospitals are projecting growth above level funding. That’s the point of discussion that we are going to have to work through in this process.”

State lawmakers refused to approve part of the Jindal administration’s plan for balancing the current budget Friday, making it clear they’re fed up with sweeps of dedicated funds.

“Somebody, sooner or later, has got to stand up and say we’ve got to stop this,” Sen. Robert Adley of Benton remonstrated with the Joint Budget Committee and representatives of the Division of Administration.

Adley, a Republican, chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, and he took great issue with part of the budget-balancing plan to grab $6-million from gasoline taxes — which are dedicated to building and maintaining roads — and shuffle that money to State Police.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee meets today to vote on the governor’s plan for slicing $103-million from current year spending.

“These mid-year cuts are critical,” House Speaker Chuck Kleckley says of the painful necessity.


Perhaps you know them as the “yellow shirts”. Certainly, state Senator Troy Brown of Napoleonville thinks of disabilities advocates that way.

“Y’all remember when y’all came with the yellow shirts? Let me tell you something. That works!” Brown offers as encouragement.

Disabilities advocates have been meeting with their local state lawmakers, trying to prepare for what promises to be an agonizing and contentious legislative session, as it centers on the budget and a $1.6-billion revenue shortfall. 

Skies may actually be clear over Baton Rouge today, but gloom hangs over the state capitol, as the Revenue Estimating Conference downgraded Louisiana’s income forecasts Monday. That means there’s a $103-million shortfall for the current fiscal year. And the deficit for the next budget year, which starts July 1, has ballooned to $1.6-billion.


Former LSU Baseball player Bobby Theriot discusses the team that won the 1961 SEC Championship, and what it was like to be a part of it.

Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols talks with Jim about Medicaid, the budget revenue, and whether or not there really is a budget crisis.

Renee Chatelain, Executive Director of the Manship Theatre, stops by the studio to promote the European Film Festival which is being held tonight, May 9th at 6:30pm at the Manship Theatre downtown.

Vice President for Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy, Christopher Guith, talks with Jim about the "shale revolution" happening in La. and what it means for the country environmentally and economically.

The Kid's Orchestra Executive Director Jody Hanet and Artistic Director Dr. Jovan Zikovic stop by to promote the Kid's Orchestra Spring Concert being held at the Christian Life Academy May 10th at 4:00pm.

  

Sue Lincoln

Louisiana got some bad news from the federal Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) late last Friday. CMS says “no deal” on six of the LSU hospital public-private partnerships.

“I don’t know what their issue is, but it appears that the basis for the denial is related to the means of financing—specifically as it relates to the advance lease payments,” Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols told the House Appropriations committee Monday.

Jim speaks with Ernest Hemingway biographer A.E. Hotchner about his latest book "O.J. in the Morning, G&T at Night".

Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols discusses Governor Jindal's budget and tax reform proposals.