“I’m tired of seeing our residents moving to Dallas or Denver for employment,” he said. “We need jobs. What we need to do is create an environment where capital feels more comfortable.”
Kennedy pointed out that there “was a reason that California is shrinking and Texas is growing. It is because California has the highest personal income tax in America and also has the highest budget deficit.”
“When Mike Foster was inaugurated in 1996, Louisiana had a budget of $12 billion,” added Kennedy. “In 2005 the budget was $19 billion and after the most recent legislative session it was $26.9 billion. That’s seven billion added in just five years.”
Kennedy said that there three things that our state can do to help to create a climate where businesses could thrive.
The first was to “not raise taxes.” He used the California model as an example of what can happen when a state raises taxes to help solve a problem.
“They may bring in more money but in the end the problem is still there,” he said.
Second on his list was to cut back on all the state positions in Louisiana. He said many of the state’s “managers” have only one employee and in several cases they have less than four. He compared that to Texas where the average is one manager to every ten employees.
“If we cut back 5,000 of the jobs per year over the next three years we can save 600 - 800 million dollars a year,” he said.
Last on Kennedy’s list was to cut back on Consulting contracts in the state. He pointed out that at least ten percent of these contract are not priority. He gave a few examples.
“We have a contract with a group in California to consult our state on sports for kids,” he said. “What this contract essentially does is hire someone from out of state trying to teach our kids how to play at recess. This is contract is for $94,000 a year. We have 16,000 consulting contracts in this state and 11,000 of them are for $50,000 or more and some of them are embarrassing.”
“If we eliminate ten percent of these we can save $750 million per year.”
Kennedy took questions from the group after his speech. Many of them were about the moratorium.
“We have 42,000 rigs and we had a catastrophe on one of them,” he said. “I’d like to tell Washington that if one government agency messes up than we should shut down the whole federal government.”