Many still working at different institutions back home and others residing in the state have been covering what I’ll refer to as a tragedy in what has occurred, continues to occur, and sadly may complete the destruction of higher education back home. My opinion is that continuing to argue about waste and abuse neglects the urgent need of an infusion of revenue. I view it as the old hand pump out in the field has its gaskets and seals dry and cracked to the point of no suction. Without at minimum a little water to prime that pump, you can just forget ever using that same pump again.
Yes you blame a reliance on oil. You can blame the state constitution. You can blame things which took place between the mid 1970s to the Jindal administration such as not realizing opportunities that are recognizable in hindsight. You can blame Bobby, his delusions, and all those affiliated with him. You can blame the new governor for his time in the state legislature because even if he fought the governor at the time, the legislature as a whole caved. You can blame the voters and those who did not vote. You can blame unicorns or the wise nutria in a bateau. There is enough blame to be shared.
Still blame will not fix the problems, and these problems are big and did not appear suddenly without warning.
Tom Aswell is a true professional, and I highly respect his research and writings. I’m drawing a blank at the moment and will hopefully be corrected if I am wrong, but I believe that Stephen Winham is a former budget director for the state (exact title I do not know). Faulty identification on my part or not, Mr. Winham has written a thorough yet concise and simplified piece about a few of the issues involved within the funding and budgeting process as a whole.
I encourage people who are back home and those who care about the state to read his piece because regardless of you, I, or that sage nutria may desire to blame, it’s going to take everyone working together and actually knowing what you have to work on to even reach the problems which seem simple but only on the surface.
By Stephen Winham
Every day we hear the same thing: “If we could just get rid of those dedications, we could fix the budget and not have to always hit higher education and health care so hard when times are tough. There are plenty of things we could cut without hurting anybody or anything.”
It sounds so easy. You hear, in very broad terms, how the budget has grown and how out-of-bounds spending has gotten. Our current budget totals about $25 billion, of which $10 billion is federal. I will focus on state funding in the official revenue forecast – about $10.4 Billion in the current year, with strongest emphasis on the $7.9 Billion in state general fund spending we can most readily control. The official forecast numbers for next year are $10.4 billion and $8.2 billion, respectively.
We hear about $4.3 billion in dedicated funds ($3.5 billion in the…
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