The budget meister

This past week we learned that the state of Louisiana’s portion (FEMA to pay 75%) of the cost of preparation and recovery from Hurricane Isaac was already at $29 Million. We also learned that the state had only budgeted $16 Million for the entire year in the emergency fund.

Even if FEMA ultimately pays 90% of the costs, it is very likely that the state’s entire annual emergency budget will be used up in the first 3 months of the year.

By contrast, as reported in a story in the Times Picayune on Sunday, Entergy New Orleans (provides electrical and gas utilities in most of New Orleans) budgeted $16 Million in its storm reserve fund. In other words, one business budgeted for emergency repairs for one parish the same as the state did for the entire state.

Intentionally under-funded

By under-funding the state’s emergency fund, Bobby Jindal and the leges freed-up money for lower priorities. If the state’s actual portion of the cost of Isaac and any future emergencies exceed the $16 Million it will exacerbate the mid-year budget cuts to all the other state agencies and will fall most heavily on Higher Education and Healthcare.

This situation is another example of how poor are Jindal and the leges’ priorities.

C.B.