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House Republicans challenge Jindal budget tactics

Associated Press Published: November 19, 2012
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He said the state constitution includes limits on how to use money deemed "nonrecurring," and the budget violates those restrictions by funneling dollars through a series of shell games to get around the limits.

He also questions whether some of the land sales and unused fund balances even exist, such as $35 million from the sale or lease of the state-owned New Orleans Adolescent Hospital and $56 million from insurance proceeds that the state hasn't yet received.

"Their predictable failure to materialize will result in a budget deficit and year-end funding cuts, cuts that could have been better planned for and anticipated had the budget been crafted in accordance with the Constitution," Talbot wrote.

Jindal spokeswoman Shannon Bates defended the budget.

"The budget that was passed by the Legislature is constitutional, doesn't spend more dollars than the state takes in and protects higher education and health care services," Bates said in an email. "It doesn't make sense to make unnecessary cuts to health care and higher education."

Previous governors have used similar budget maneuvers with one-time financing, but Jindal has run into stronger criticism from newer lawmakers, who say the governor hasn't lived up to his claims of fiscal conservatism and blame the piecemeal funding for repeated budget shortfalls.