[StBernard] Streamlining Update, September 24, 2009

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Thu Sep 24 21:19:02 EDT 2009

The Louisiana Commission on Streamlining Government's Advisory Group on
Efficiency and Benchmarking, of which I am the chairman, adopted five
additional recommendations at it's September 21, 2009 meeting:

* Sunset special funds in the State Treasury and start over. Now
numbering in excess of 300, these special funds contain over $3 billion that
is dedicated to the purposes for which each fund was created, which ties the
Legislature's hands and restricts the ability of the Legislature and the
Governor to balance the state budget in years when the state general fund
revenues decline, resulting in major cuts to higher education and
healthcare. These special funds would all be abolished and the legislature
could then start over and decide which of the dedicated funds are really
appropriate. Constitutionally-dedicated funds, such as the LEQTF and the
Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund, would not be affected.

* Eliminate tolls on the Crescent City Connection Bridge. Tolls on the
Crescent City Connection Bridge in New Orleans would be eliminated on
December 31, 2012, when the bonds supported by the tolls will be paid off.
Eliminating the tolls will discontinue the current toll collection practice
and management which is incurring more administrative costs than the amount
of tolls collected.

* Require students with excessive suspensions or unexcused absences to
enroll in the Youth Challenge Program. Stop the "school-to-prison pipeline"
by requiring all Louisiana public school students who have been suspended
from school for more than five days or who have more than 10 unexcused
absences in a school year to enroll in the Louisiana National Guard Youth
Challenge Program, which has a 50% success rate in helping at-risk children
earn a high school diploma in a military-like setting. In addition, the
Louisiana law would be changed to prohibit a student from dropping out of
elementary and secondary education in Louisiana until he or she has reached
the age of 18 years.

* Substitute teaching will be required of elected officials. As a
condition of the position or office, all members of the Legislature,
statewide elected officials, members of the Board of Elementary and
Secondary Education and the Superintendent of Education will be required to
substitute teach without pay at least two times a year in a Louisiana public
school. This will help elected officials gain a complete understanding of
how budgetary matters directly impact education in Louisiana and the issues
that teachers and students face today.

* Cease implementation of the ERP Project until a cost-benefit
analysis is completed. The State of Louisiana is currently implementing an
Enterprise Resource Planning Project that will replace the State's entire
financial system at a cost of $150 million and possibly more. This project
should be placed on hold until a cost-benefit analysis demonstrates that the
benefits of the ERP Project will outweigh its costs.

All of the recommendations passed by the advisory group will be forwarded to
the full Streamlining Commission for consideration next month. To read the
full text of these recommendations, visit the Louisiana Department of
Treasury website at www.LATreasury.com <http://www.LATreasury.com> or CLICK
HERE <http://www.votervoice.net/link/clickthrough/ext/69714.aspx> . You may
submit your cost-saving suggestions to the commission at
<http://senate.legis.state.la.us/streamline> .

I will continue to keep you updated on our progress.
John Neely Kennedy
Louisiana State Treasurer

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