Why should we believe her? Monday, Nov 10 2014 

kristy nichols

Can she be believed?

Recently, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols, out of the blue, announced that the state ended the 2014 Fiscal Year (June 30) with a $178 Million surplus. Thursday, she admitted that instead of a surplus the state ended the year with a $141 Million deficit.  That’s over a $300 Million turnaround.

Also, recently Nichols said the actuaries for the Office of Group Benefits (state employees and teachers’ health insurance program) recommended reducing the premiums because the reserves were too large. Documents from the actuaries indicated no such recommendations.

Additionally, Nichols claimed that the reduction in benefits and increase in premiums for OGB were not subject to the Administrative Procedures Act (and lege oversight).  The Attorney General ruled otherwise. Suddenly, Nichols began following the APA.

Friday , we read in the paper that Nichols said that State Treasurer John Kennedy cost the taxpayers $2.8 Million by delaying a bond sale. If the figure is even correct, the delay was caused not by Kennedy, but by Nichols insistence on reporting to the bond rating agencies a false surplus (in violation of Federal Law) for the 2014 Fiscal Year.

All of this is to say that Nichols’ pronouncements need better scrutiny. If the media is going to report whatever flows out of her mouth, they should be more circumspect of the information. It’s not enough to merely put her words in quotation marks.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill

Kristy Nichols lied ­– AGAIN! Friday, Nov 7 2014 

kristy nichols

The State Liar

How does one know when Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols is lying? According to the word at the Capitol she is lying whenever she is speaking to a committee.

Recently, Nichols told the public as well as the Joint Lege Budget Committee that the state ended the 2014 Fiscal Year with a $178 Million surplus. State Treasurer John Kennedy said it wasn’t true.   He is the only public official who dared to question Nichols.

In response, Nichols launched personal attack at Kennedy. She even falsely accused Kennedy of not properly accounting for the state’s revenues, a job that falls under her responsibilities.

This afternoon Kennedy issued a statement regarding the $141 Million deficit for the fiscal year ending on June 30.  Here are some excerpts:

At Treasurer Kennedy’s urging, [Kristy Nichols] agreed to language that will apprise potential investors [in state bonds] of the state’s $140.6 million operating deficit and other pending budget issues.

“On a budgetary basis, fiscal 2014 state general fund operating revenues declined about 1% from fiscal 2013 while expenditures grew 2.5%, leaving a $140 million year-end operating deficit. The revenue shortfall did not emerge until late in the year in the fiscal year to make sufficient offsetting mid-year adjustments.”

Now Nichols will have to take $140.6 Million from the revenues in the current budget (which will result in mid-year budget cuts) to fill the deficit or she will have to reach into her secret stash of funds to pay off the deficit.

Kennedy is to be commended for having the integrity to refuse to furnish fictitious information provided by Nichols to the bond rating agencies. Not only would it have been illegal to do so, but could have been devastating to the state’s future bond rating.

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill
 

Confidence in state budgeting lacking Monday, Nov 3 2014 

hear no evil see no evil speak no evil

Lege oversight

Friday, we learned that one-third into the current fiscal year, the state is overspending the Medicaid budget by $170 Million. ( See story here.)

In this case, DHH says it will find the extra money from “sources it has relied on in the past to cover increased spending….” If that is the case, why wasn’t it budgeted in the first place?

Just a few weeks ago, Commish of Administration Kristy Nichols suddenly “found” $300 Million to ward off a deficit from the previous fiscal year. We still don’t know if the money is real or merely an accounting trick.

This on-going cycle of sudden shortfalls followed by miraculous “found money” doesn’t instill much confidence in those to whom we entrust our hard-earned tax dollars. That includes not only Team Jindal, but the lege which has failed to exercise its oversight responsibility.

We would never put up with our personal bank’s inability to inform us on a daily basis whether we have a balance or deficit in our checking account. We should accept no less from our public officials.

Tell your leges to start doing their job and get us some answers! It’s OUR money!

C.B.

“King of Subversive Bloggers” – James Gill
 

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