Blueprint Louisiana today released a list of policy recommendations focused on Louisiana’s budget challenges for the upcoming fiscal year. Building on Blueprint’s commitment to state government reform, the organization prepared a list of research-driven recommendations that deliver substantive budget solutions for Fiscal Year 2012 and provide real reforms to address long-standing issues facing Louisiana. The list of 14 recommendations provides an estimated $972 million to $1.64 billion in potential savings and new revenues for the upcoming budget cycle. “The Blueprint Board of Trustees recognized last fall the state’s budget challenges were considerable, and we felt compelled to develop a one-year blueprint that produces savings as well as improves how our state functions and serves its citizens,” said Blueprint Louisiana Chairman Bill Fenstermaker, President and Chief Executive Officer of C.H. Fenstermaker & Associates of Lafayette. “We encourage not only thoughtful discussion about these and other ideas, but bold and decisive action to advance statewide priorities that build a foundation for sustainable government.” General Recommendation for State Government Recommendation Potential Savings/New Revenue in FY 2012 Open up statutorily protect funding $100+ million in potential savings Reduce state workers by 9,486 over two years $235+ million in potential savings Reform state employee and teacher retirement systems $25+ million in potential savings
Be “smart on crime” by revising outdated sentencing and parole guidelines $2 million to $6 million in potential savings Subtotal $362 million to $366 million in potential savings
Health Care Recommendations Recommendation Potential Savings/New Revenue in FY 2012 Implement a Medicaid coordinated care system $20+ million in potential savings Reform the charity hospital system $50+ million in potential savings Maximize federal matching funds for current state health expenditures $125 to $575 million in potential savings and new revenues Implement a hospital provider assessment to generate new state dollars for the federal match $245 million in potential new revenues Strike the right balance of institutional, community and home-based care $25+ million in potential savings Subtotal $465 million to $915 million in potential savings and revenue
Higher Education Recommendations Recommendation Potential Savings/New Revenue in FY 2012 Sharpen the focus on academic performance, and eliminate programs that don’t meet acceptable standards Millions in strategic reductions to re-invest in higher education Undertake and incentivize structural reform $25+ million in potential savings Create management savings and efficiencies $20+ million in potential savings Grand more operational freedom to institutions $10+ million in potential savings Re-define the role of the legislature in setting tuition rates $90 million to $300 million in potential new revenue Subtotal $145 million to $355 million in potential savings and new revenue Blueprint has spent the past six months conducting research into these and other ideas. The result is an 18-page report that provides an explanation of each of the 14 recommendations and estimates potential savings and/or new revenue generated to help the state close its significant FY12 budget shortfall. “Our state budget challenges continue to present an opportunity for meaningful reforms in government,” Fenstermaker said. “Budget reductions are necessary, and we believe it matters immensely how those cuts are made. Our goal is a state government that operates more efficiently and is more sustainable in the future.” Established in 2006, Blueprint Louisiana is a citizen-driven effort to identify and implement essential changes to make the state a better place to live and work. The group’s original vision for a better Louisiana focused on major governmental reforms in the areas of ethics, education, workforce development, health care, transportation and coastal restoration and hurricane protection. In 2009, it added a “new economy” component (higher education and economic innovation) to its reform agenda. The nonpartisan effort is led and supported by community and business leaders from across the state.