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Council on Aging groups concerned over budget

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BATON ROUGE - Seniors are concerned about Governor Bobby Jindal's new $25.5 billion budget.

Jindal's commissioner of administration, Paul Rainwater, presented a proposal today that would move the Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs (which oversees the Councils on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging across the state) under the control of the Department of Health and Hospitals.

Council on Aging groups in attendance are afraid money now solely dedicated to them could be used for other programs if they are moved under the DHH umbrella.

The groups feel this move will greatly impact seniors and their access to community-based, social services such as Senior Centers.

The proposed budget would also close a nearly $900 million gap with higher retirement costs for state employees and cut nearly 6,400 govnerment postitions.

The state's budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 would shrink slightly by $61 million.

Twenty-nine percent would be spent on education and 38 percent for health care and social services.

Jindal proposes selling a state prison in Avoyelles Parish, hiring a private company to run a state employee health care plan, closing the White Castle and Edgard/Reserve ferries in south Louisiana and privatizing two facilities that care for the developmentally disabled.


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