The News-Star, Monroe, La., on Kennedy's contract proposal

March 3
The News-Star, Monroe, La., on Kennedy's contract proposal:
State Treasurer John Kennedy has a plan to save money that we think is deserving of universal support.
Unfortunately it has failed to get such support and the upcoming legislative session will be the third in which he has sought to get enabling legislation for his plan ..
Kennedy's plan is to reduce by 10 percent the amount of money that the state spends each year on professional, personal and consulting contracts. In a tight economy, such a plan sounds more than reasonable. It becomes nothing short of imperative when you discover that in 2012 the amount spent on such contracts was $5.28 billion.
That's not a typographical error. The number is $5.28 billion.
So, that means the state can save $528 million by reducing the contract number by 10 percent ...
When you discover what some of the contractors have been paid to do, you quickly begin to wonder if the whole process shouldn't be examined, not just trimmed.
Kennedy has some key ones he likes to share:
— $94,000 to a California consultant to "assist students to learn valuable social skills through organized play on their recess and lunch periods."
— $874,930 to pay a consultant to "provide assistance to disadvantaged business enterprise companies doing business with DOTD." ...
— $57,100 to "inform and educate the Hispanic community on seatbelt usage."
Kennedy readily admits that many of the contracts are going for good things and a lot of the contracts are federal money that must pass through the state for distribution. His point is that even on the good contracts there is most likely negotiation room and that waste is waste and the state should be opposed to federal waste as well.
So why has this plan failed to gain universal support?
Primarily because it does not have the support of the Jindal administration. The administration argues that the bill would harm the state's privatization efforts and that it amounts to micromanaging the state departments. Our thought is that the administration shouldn't be concerned about privatization in this matter. It isn't about reducing government by engaging private business, it is about cutting costs in government. ..
Senators Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, and Francis Thompson, D-Delhi, both serve on the Senate Finance Committee. We urge them to view this as a bill that supports our area colleges and universities and lend their considerable support to the measure.

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