State Treasurer John Kennedy


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.”

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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.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell which irritates State Treasurer John Kennedy more: the Legislature or the Governor.

Speaking to the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday, Kennedy said he believes the legislature improperly passed several tax measures this spring.

“The Legislature couldn’t get a 2/3 vote, so they just decided to get a legal opinion that it only takes a majority vote.”

He also aired some of his dissatisfaction with Gov. Bobby Jindal.

“The Governor has done many good things, but finances is not one of them.”

Treasurer John Kennedy / Flickr

State Treasurer John Kennedy addressed the Baton Rouge Rotary Club Wednesday. He had quite a bit to say about the budget, and the lawmakers who crafted it.

“I was very, very disappointed in what the legislature did this past session, in terms of our budget," Kennedy said.

The Treasurer asserts legislators didn't even try to address the things that had created the $1.6 billion budget hole.

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.