Kennedy: Higher ed could be 'gutted like a fish'
BATON ROUGE - After the state's Revenue Estimating Committee decided to trim back cash flow forecasts for the fiscal year, Treasurer John Kennedy warned Governor Jindal could take an axe to higher education to make up the difference.
"Let me be blunt, they're gonna gut LSU and Southern and BRCC like a fish, and it didn't have to happen, and it's a shame that it had to happen, but the state has got to do a better job of managing taxpayer money," Kennedy said. "To take it out on higher education every time is just wrong."
Governor Jindal will need to cut at least $170 million from the state's budget to make up the shortfall.
Economists told the committee the over estimation stems from the falling price of oil. When revenue was forecasted, oil was selling for nearly $100 a barrell, but now the price has fallen more than $20.
Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said the governor would take a level approach to cuts, vowing to shield health care spending and higher education.
"We're going to protect those investments, higher education being a priority for us, we're already talking to higher education officials about an expenditure freeze, we're working with them so they're able to produce efficiencies and retain those savings," said Nichols.
Once the deficit is confirmed by the Joint Budget committee next week, the governor will have 30 days to decide where to make cuts.