State Treasurer John Kennedy

screen capture by S. Lincoln

“Tonight I speak to you as no other Louisiana governor has ever spoken to our state, because this is a historic fiscal crisis.”

In an unusual move, Governor John Bel Edwards took to the airwaves last night to address the people of Louisiana. Previous governors have done this in times of imminent danger: for example, to urge evacuation for approaching hurricanes. Edwards made it clear he believes this requires similar urgency.

Sue Lincoln

One day after officially announcing he’s a candidate for U.S. Senate, state Treasurer John Kennedy addressed a luncheon meeting of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. As usual, his speech was colorful.

“If we keep losing bright young men and women to Dallas and Atlanta, the average age in Louisiana is going to be deceased,” Kennedy observed.

But is what Kennedy says accurate, or is he just stirring the pot? Let’s look at one of his favorite talking points.

S. Lincoln

Louisiana is not totally strapped for cash – yet. But the state’s capital outlay escrow account is dwindling rapidly.

“We are spending approximately $40-45 million dollars a month. That’s what we call our burn rate,” State Treasurer John Kennedy told the Joint Budget committee Thursday. “We could continue to go for a few more months, but we don’t want to hit the bottom of the bucket.”

Kennedy assured lawmakers this is a fairly regular occurrence, and said normally the state would issue general obligation bonds to refill the account, but…
“These are not normal times.”

GMF

Global Ministries Foundation’s quest for Louisiana bond money to buy a New Orleans-East apartment complex may finally be over.

“I would like to make a motion again that we not approve this project, or defer it permanently, if we can,” State Senator Edwin Murray said during Thursday’s Louisiana Bond Commission meeting. “I don’t know what it takes to keep it off the agenda any further, but I just hope that it’s gone.”

It was the fifth time in as many months that GMF’s $24.5-million request encountered objections from residents of the surrounding community. The project is in State Representative Wesley Bishop’s district.

“We’re not against development. We’re not against anything that benefits New Orleans-East,” Bishop told fellow Bond Commission members. “But this is wrong. This is wrong as two left shoes.”

wikimedia commons

It’s one of Governor Jindal’s favorite statistics, and one he’s sure to quote in tomorrow night’s debate on CNN: “We’ve actually cut our state budget 26 percent.”

Yet every time Bobby Jindal says it, State Treasurer John Kennedy cringes.

“It does bother me when the Governor says that,” Kennedy states. “It offends me because those aren’t the numbers.”

In fact, Kennedy says, the actual numbers show the opposite.

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