Luck won’t fix La. budget woesPublished 12:03am Friday, July 20, 2012
Gov. Bobby Jindal is waiting for the $336 million pot of gold to appear at the end of the Cajun-colored rainbow.
And if it doesn’t? Well, maybe the governor has some inside leprechaun knowledge that we don’t.
Jindal’s administration acknowledges there’s a budget shortfall. They’ve already cut $523 million from the health care budget, but the total gap in the Medicaid budget was $859 million.
The deepest cuts already made are to the LSU public hospital system that cares for mostly poor and uninsured.
The administration’s plan to make up the rest of the needed money is simply to sit back and hope for higher-than-expected revenues.
Sound like a plan to you? No, us either.
We hope Jindal and the state of Louisiana’s people get lucky and suddenly the economy turns around and revenues bounce higher.
But wishing and hoping doesn’t make a problem go away. Better judgment convinces us that luck probably won’t do the job this time.
The administration needs to craft a plan — a real one — to cover the Medicaid gap without closing all its hospitals.
The state’s spending, every penny of it, needs close attention. The answer may not be pretty, but it has to be better than simply waiting on a pot of gold to materialize.
Any leprechaun with a little common sense can see such wishful thinking may lead to disappointment and the urgent need to react suddenly when the wishes don’t come true.