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Audit: State contracts out of control

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BATON ROUGE - An audit by the Legislative Auditor found that the state has nearly 15,000 contracts worth $21.3 billion and there's no way to keep track of them.

State Treasurer John Kennedy says 4,600 of the contracts are not even cataloged in the registry and could be "back-door" deals.

"Our right hand doesn't know what our left hand is doing. It's further proof to me that we don't have a revenue problem as much as we have a spending problem," he said.

According to the audit, there's no centralized database where lawmakers and others can see the actual amount number of contracts and dollars. Kennedy feels state spending on consultant contracts is out of control. He says the state will spend $47 million next year on coastal restoration consultants who won't even plant a blade of grass.

"That's more than the entire general fund contribution to LSU in Shreveport, to Southern in Shreveport, to Nicholls State University and to McNeese State University put together. That's how bad this problem is," said Kennedy.

Kennedy believes the state can save money by weeding out the bad contracts. He says consultants should make a case for contracts publicly to provide transparency.

"I promise you that we could eliminate 10 percent, and tax payers would never know the difference except that we would have more money for roads, and more money for our universities and more money for health care," he said.

A law proposed for this session would require all contracts worth at least $50,000 to be approved by a legislative committee. The same bill passed last year but was vetoed by Governor Bobby Jindal.



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