State Treasurer John Kennedy

When the Bond Commission met last Thursday, nothing was said publicly about the precarious situation with the state’s credit rating. Behind the scenes, though, it’s a different story.

“I’ve got a conference call with them Monday,” state Treasurer John Kennedy said in an interview, after the meeting.

Prior to the governor signing the new budget into law Friday, the Jindal administration had conference calls with Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P last week, to which Kennedy was not invited. Instead, he’s remedying that presumed oversight today.

State Treasurer John Kennedy says when it comes to fixing the state budget, the legislature is doing it all wrong.

“Your goal ought not to be, ‘We need to get some more cash in this place.’ Your goal really ought to be, ‘Let’s make a tax system that looks like somebody designed it on purpose’,” Kennedy told the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday.

Lawmakers have advanced bills for temporary fixes, like suspending sales tax holidays, limiting film tax credits, and taking 20% off the top of the refundable business inventory tax credit. Kennedy said he’s disturbed by the lack of an organized plan to actually cure the state’s fiscal problems long-term.

With so much current focus on the state budget, the term “statutory dedications” keeps coming up. What are they and why are they an issue? We turn to Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy for answers.

“We have about 370 special accounts into which money automatically flows, because the Legislature has dedicated it,” Kennedy says, by way of introduction.

State officials have been burning up the phone lines between Baton Rouge and New York City this week, trying to stave off the threatened downgrade of Louisiana’s credit rating. State Treasurer John Kennedy says it’s been intense.

“We’re in trouble. I don’t want to overstate that, but I don’t want to sugarcoat it, either,” Kennedy says. “We’re in trouble with two of the three rating agencies. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have told us unless we get our fiscal affairs in order, they’re going to downgrade us.”


Today on the show, Visit Baton Rouge Executive Vice President Renée Areng talks about the city's tourism and the huge events coming like the Miss USA Pageant and Bayou Country Superfest. 

State Treasurer John Kennedy calls in with his concerns about the fact that Governor Bobby Jindal's financing plan to privatize state-owned hospitals has been rejected by the federal government. Kennedy is also on a mission to get people on board to support a bill that would cut the number of consulting contracts in Louisiana. 

Timothy Muffitt brings in violinist Yi-Jia Susanne Hou who will perform during the Baton Rouge Symphony's Thursday concert. We also get an amazing sample of Hou's playing in-studio. Muffitt says they'll be using Twitter to express what is happening during the show. You can follow on Twitter: @BRSymphony or by using the hashtag #brsoravel.