WWL>Topics>>4-9 3:10pm Angela: with State Treasurer John Kennedy

4-9 3:10pm Angela: with State Treasurer John Kennedy

Apr 9, 2015|

Angela talks with State Treasurer John Kennedy about the state budget.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well it's all about a computer glitch a major one that's prevented parishes from receiving money they're owed. From the taxes collected by the state for oil and gas production from Louisiana land and water bottoms. But Treasury Secretary John Kennedy sees another problem. Perhaps too much paid for new computer systems. He's back John Kennedy is in studio to talk about that glitch when it all means. And to continue the conversation. About the upcoming legislative session. And the struggles we face as a state. Please be part of this conversation and give this to call any questions forced Treasury Secretary John Kennedy 2601. And seventy. We're gonna talk about glitches we're gonna talk about retirement plans we're gonna talk about everything about the Bergen and start with your big announcement today. I'm running for re election I made the announcement this morning I sent an email out to to my supporters and I'm excited about it and of course I'm I've gotten I've got to get reelected and I'll run hard. I've made. Well how long you've been Treasury Secretary have been Treasury Secretary for sixteen years this would be my if I'm elected former elected this will be my fifth our. So you know so many many people and you've heard them because they've called the station saying run for governor run for governor. Well it's something I considered an act considered very carefully. It was as much of a family decision and a personal decision is it was a political decision. For example I enjoy teaching. I teach at it in the spring it relishing law school. And I do a lot of volunteer substitute teaching in our public schools. If if I did run for governor and lightning struck and one that's something I have to give up. I've got a son who's a freshman in college and he's gone on he's way at school but at some point he's known gradually I hope her. And and I don't know where we end up with a Yemen with a job I hope here in Louisiana but. I wanna spend the time I Hamlet with him it's just politics is a tough profession I do it because I'm not that I wouldn't do I mean ever mighty. In my businesses all it's a big sacrifice but I do discuss on Ike. You know fun and like I wouldn't do that I enjoy what you have good days you have bad days but I've never that I can remember had a boring day in government. I would bet. Not but. In your role as Treasury Secretary now and if you should win again with the hunt for the for the you really are. I think you have become eyes and ears of citizens. And their concerns about. The issues of government do you explain it so beautifully whether it's any of the numbers things we've talked about and we'll talk about today. It's like you understand. The problems we have of and many of the proms and yet and yet he always come up with a solution I have never heard you say in the many times you've been on the show. Well that's a problem will never solve it. Never you think positively. Here's the issue here's a suggestion solution won't. Most of our problems have solutions not all of there's something that down but most of our problems have solutions the first thing we've got to do. Is on complicate. The problem so taxpayers can understand and and and people in government. Make things complicated sometimes on purpose. So the voters and taxpayers can't understand and mark part of my job is to explain to people. In terms of their better without all acronyms in the right the ancient language about where their tax money's going and why and where ought to be going in worship the Beagle. I don't know who our next governor will be we got four find people running girlfriend's from and I'll make. Whoever's elected apple offer to work with him I made that the same offer made governor Jindal. I hope they'll accept take me appoint as I'd like to help can be good governor. If they don't I'll just keep normal thing. Well keep doing your own thing. Above and beyond. We have a lot to talk about I brought up about the glitch in the computer systems yes I'd never heard that before oh for heaven's sake and then I read sort of the tag of and by the way we're paying too much for this computer system. Now we wait probably in the last ten years my guess is we've spent between 500 million. And a billion taxpayer dollars. Designing and re designing computers just now I do believe it in technology. And it's important. Kid to grow your economy and to make your government more efficient harness the recent technology. It makes you more productive. But. You can't just go start spending a lot of taxpayer money on computer systems and hope they work and hope you get back out. You have to to go back and may first you've got to know where you're going eat why are we doing this while this expenditure and valued. And then how to we measured that I'll give you an example. Our office of motor vehicles. Aren't embarrassment. Got go to go to what officer motor vehicles and see how long it takes she'd outrage. I was there about six straight months ago my son lost his drivers much shark took off from work with went with a one over in man to deal were me. How waited five hours. And one point one of the people on the back working by hand recognized itself mr. Kennedy come on up from the line asset you know I'm I'm normally like everybody else. But but cents since she called roaming on the case on this is the most inefficient operation. God is ever put Britney I mean this is horrible. In Mac computers that it is treasury action transfer. Through the Internet billions of dollars and an anti sect. And we we spent a billion dollars on computer systems but yet we have stopped it does land. A systems so that people don't have to go wait six hours take time off of their their big day to two to get a license. And I mean it's ludicrous it's our personnel we ought to fix that yes absolutely. Is the argument will we just don't have enough people. Or is it just. It's gobbledygook OK and on its gobbledygook you know I bring up about the computer because you know first of all its money that we need to. Sure the right and so in but what what struck me was this is saying. Amount of money that comes from its natural flow of money that goes to the local parish is from the states. For the money we get the oil companies and yes but it goes back months. Yes we had there was a computer break down at the department of revenue I don't know whose fault it was Imani cherished it in that. But. We have with it don't make me being able write checks. To our local governments for their share of severance taxes for about six months. That's a long Tim was on time and those parishes and needed the money in the taxpayer was the taxpayer money that money would be used to fill potholes. For example. And understand that clinches happen but this is an example where we spent 82 on the money onus on the computer system. And we didn't get taxpayers didn't get bad people well the computer people who put it and incorrectly or didn't. Solve the problem in a timely matter should pay that. The stay the course of course. And I'm in another example. Com. We spent thirty million dollars. With a group out of state and our state consultant. Calling Unisys. To read his plan at the computer system in our office from motor vehicles to try to make things better. Not only did it not work we got we got zero. Improvement from them. We're tat we are tied up in court with them. But they're still doing business with this title Louisiana in another department and I asked the question possible. Why are we still doing that they and I don't know the company's probably very good company but but they didn't deliver what are we doing business continue to do business with. I mean it just it. This not this is difficult which is pretty much common sense I'm not saying not to spend money on technology. I mean it's important to do that. But you have to if you got a Pontiac system that's working. It's not a Cadillac it's a Pontiac but it starts in the morning. That's when we got needs and our universities. And we need roads and we got health care delivery system needs why don't we want to go spend taxpayer money. Trying to turn a Pontiac which starts every day and runs flat and to a Cadillac when the Cadillac is going to end up in the shop every other day. And spend that money when we have a one point six billion dollar gap the yes yes some that we were talking off the air. The University of New Orleans has done more to educate. Middle class weak unions in New Orleans the world leniency than than probably any institution in this guy. New forms would not have in it's greatness today. Without you and now I'm not putting down any of our university but you know has been our bedrock goat to institution. For folks that that mark rich and have to work now on the day it may be go to school in the afternoon. What the state of Louisiana is doing to UN. Is an embarrassment to me as a state fish. We've got the money Angela we just spending it on things that aren't nearly as important as you wanna. On that happy note we're gonna take a quick break we're gonna come back and we're gonna find out exactly what he's talking about. Stay with us I'm Angela under the deal. Our state treasurer John Kennedy who announced today that he is running for reelection. Is here once again to help us understand. What's going on with our state especially when it comes to the crisis were and frankly with the up with a budget. We were talking about higher Ed you were talking about UN now we know that it has just been ripped. And the tragedy that is that this community. But you have some hope that there are some bills going before the legislature next week the that can help soften the blow. Yes I mean give me an example while we're gonna have a built its house bill 376. It's not representative Lance heiress from Alexandria. Here's what it would do. Every year. We Xian unlike other states. Receive stands hundreds of millions of dollars in federal monies. We know about the Medicaid program for example would we also receive federal monies. Two. To deliver certain services that the federal government thanks for the are important. That money comes in hand to our various departments in the bureaucracy in those departments usually ends up taking that federal money. And hiring a consult. Often and have a stake consultant. To spend the money and delivered the sharks. Instead of hiring those consult each one hour bill would do would be to direct that money first. To our universities our universities our greatest Reza boards of expertise. In the stack why don't we need the state consultants expertise. We have it right he give you an example. Here's our contract that has been way acts. You know it's an actual contract this contract numbers 66 so factory won the state of Louisiana is spending. 547000. Dollars on a consultant. And here's the consultant's job I'll quote. Teach participants the skills needed. To live a more self sufficient lifestyle through gainfully employed. Now that's federal monies if it's not all federal money Hampshire it's large part that money why don't we wanna give that money to an out of state control. Why don't we offer to a department of social war are our department of sociology in our universe to say you administered to score. The students could get academic credit. That that we know that money wouldn't it be spent 98 personal salaries there would be transparency. From the tax I urged. And the universities could actually measure of the valley. Right now we're doing is given this money to consultants are to politically connected groups. Nobody. Measures that whether they're adding value some of them not all level but some of them spend at least half the money on on salaries. Let's just cut them and not understand politics a lot of those consultants have. Have connections and and they make campaign contributions but that's an excuse not ariz. But there's also a lot of teachers are allotted actually families who have people who would say. More more important in the consultant sure we didian tens of thousands of dollars millions of dollars every year to provide afterschool tutoring to keep its. What we need a consultant did at one week go to the school of education one of our local universities. Art why don't we go to an actual teacher actions say would you like to provide this after school teacher and we can we can value the going right twenty or thirty dollars an hour. Which we don't need to turn this money over to politically connected groups. And and there are literally tens and twenties and hundreds of millions of dollars in these federal monies. That we could run through our universities the taxpayers would be better off. And the people receiving the services would be that other than the blue lobbying group that wants to keep that. Contractors going what is the argument to me it's just. Makes sense well on these groups are very politically connected they make campaign contributions. I mean they have class. Some of these groups have been getting these consulting contracts for years. And they know that a call. That that's an excuse though not a reach. And we will get pushed back almost bill. But we won't we're gonna fight for glances at bright guy and now we've got another bill. To require all of these consulting contracts before they can be wet. To be approved in a public meeting. Before the joint legislative committee on the ballot. So if somebody wants must say this is an actual contract there was I think we it was a don't hold any disfigured but it was a fifty or 100000 dollar contract it was given to a group. Called the purple circles social call of not a bad average nobody knows who the are I don't know the before the purple circle social club can get a 100000 dollars it's got to go in front of the joint legislative committee on the budget in front of the public and the press and and and got in the rest of America and say here's who we are. And here's what I'm going to do with the money in you know what's gonna happen the purple circle sulfur clogs Chicago I'm not going through that we will we will win it we're remark on I asked for the month. And it would we would have heat sites of cash and less sunlight is a great and asset. Yes it is and your eyes bring that sunshine to just stay with us everyone and other tech quick break but we'll be back. Talking to John Kennedy right after this. And we are back our very special guest. Treasurer John Kennedy again who has just announced that he is running for reelection. Some of us still want him as governor but maybe that they will come another time. He's a great treasure. As a treasurer because he keeps us knowledgeable about what's going on and can explain it it's very overwhelming every time upset one point six billion dollars. I have to stop and think. About that vast amount of money that is like a giant hole that we have. That's huge it's it's been frank over this way if passed start with which there are on the Sturm Angelo deal and now all the time. If I started counting to a bill right now. And I counted one digit the second. It would take me 34 years stop that's how big a billion eons. It would take me thirty I would Mike. It would definitely 34 at the a billion is a lot of taxpayer money and our our deficit is one point six billion. That's why when when you look at the national debt at seventeen trillion dollars. It's impossible for me to get my hand. And it's like it's so big now we're not gonna worry about it and coming into office it's the least yesterday it is it it's like President Reagan said Tammy said he was joking ports he says not worry about the deficit it's big enough to take care of itself. It has a life of its own ass but we we have to balance the budget yes so do we can't enrich our own money. No we can and so we're gonna have to make some tough decisions. And it's all across the board that this what you're talking about here's bill makes nothing but good cents. Giving the money that's coming in from the federal government that we're getting to consultants put it through the university's. Helps a universities. It'll work it'll and the legislate sources have called me for lights to about what this is what I tell it's not top okay. First. Concentrate. On the span I don't care how much revenue you have if you spend more of it and you bringing and you don't run a deficit. Concentrate on the Spain there's some things we can do to speed on the last win out impacting the quality of the service from the product. They were delivering to the taxpayers. After you do that and taxpayers have competence that your wryly treating their money is the precious commodity ideas. You couldn't go over and take a look at should tax cut it now we don't need to raise taxes what we need to do. Is this we have 462. Exemptions. In our tax. That means that there 462. People. Entities are industry groups. That don't have to pay the same taxes that everybody else. That's about seven point seven billion dollar line. We have to go through every single one of those some of those are good exemptions. I'll give you want to meet some humorous fizzled don't disagree that's okay. That's what makes were program for example we have an exemption. For oil and gas industry in in shale for. Shale wells can cost fifteen million option in order to encourage the drilling you have to give them a break concepts taxes I think that's money well spent. But she go through every one exemptions and you say is this exemption work and is it creating jobs if it aging doubled down on. But if you go to another exemption for example we have an exemption. The department of revenue doesn't even know how much were it's costing us if you ask them they don't even collect the data. Purchases of antique airplanes. Are exempt from state income tax I don't know why sales of one of a kind art. Are exempt from from for from sales tax. What else. Bob. It sales taxes that are paid back foreign visitors to to Louisiana. We need to go look at every one of those and said why are we doing this is it creating jobs at city as you keep it if it isn't. Would you do as you get rid of it and if you get rid of enough of them you can lower the tax write. Which means everybody pays a little less because you've added new tax payers to distressed. And that's not why why won't we just do because every one of these little exemptions has constituents. But they may be fifteen people are they handling but they could and 8000 can be fifteen powerful people for example this. I don't know where this exemption came from purchases of antique SharePoint and they don't play sales tax. But that's probably a very powerful person. That had a good lobbyists they got the legislature. To grant that exemption. May be Ambien unfair maybe it's it's bringing in thousands of jobs from Louisiana. But the point is we need to go find out any videos keep it may be add to it if it's not. We could sit spend that money to fail to fix roads. Aren't helping universities. We're gonna have to take another break the woman come back I wanna talk to my John Kennedy. But a recent article concerning. Tim Barfield who is our revenue secretary. Who has looked into. How many of the State's largest businesses. Are not paying taxes right after this I'm Angela under the had a well. And we are back with state treasurer John Kennedy we're talking about money. Where we're gonna get it how we're gonna solve our problems. Before we get into the thing that I was leading into about some of the some of the larger companies in our state not paying state taxes like take our caller Robert I appreciate you holding your on WW well. Thank you Angela. One of my comment too on the trinity. It's like every. I mean it's oh platform to bring that despite. Purple furcal. Other on the slate. I think they get fit they are on about Nazis. I want slate on that it figured plug two billion dollar hole and good with that sit there on the about output up but first album sale. Well I understand your point but let me tee while bring that up. Fifty to a 100000 dollars may be a small amount of money percentage wise and when he found billion dollar budget for that for most and we see unions and for me. That's a whole lot of money. And that money didn't just fall from camp. It came out people's pockets and they worked hard for and that's money that that those taxpayers don't amp. Two to educate their children to save for retirement or maybe two to Abbas some much needed furniture. You know and they gave it to government and they gave it to us to spanned. In in in the greater good and when we don't take that money. In Spanish owned group like the purple charcoal social club are hot to music club that's another one where we spent money. Are so when a T 67 these political NGOs. That's an insult to every taxpayers in this. And so I will not stop talking. Hope you don't tonight because I think everybody who's listening to Smart enough to realize they're probably lots of purple circle there are that's right and we're fed up with it is sort of enough. And if if we need more oversight. Than your suggestion of every group that's asking for money goal before Dolan from the joint legislative. It gave that purple circle social club is is so more important. Then that chaired professor at a UN though they get it's getting a phone call right now from the University of Texas trying to arm away. Then mailed and that purple circle social club needs to go in front god and country in the joint legislative Budget Committee. And explain themselves and stand explain what how why they need the money I don't think they can do it. I don't think they wield it. These kind of groups exist. In the shatters that that in the sunlight. They never make. Well we're gonna move on very quickly is I want to lot asking about there was an article and city business I'm not big article talking about the revenue secretary Tim Barfield. Who is done and got his office to do sort of review. Of on the largest the biggest companies in Louisiana and the bottom line of this whole article is only about 25% of them are paying state taxes. And that that to me says a lot as well. Well and that may well be the case. Jim Jones secretary department revenue he's a great guy very bright desert does a wonderful job those tax for records of course are confidential. He can't tell talent and shootings and yeah and it is who those companies are but that goes back to my point. If they're not paying taxes it's probably because they have an exemption right now maybe they deserve that exception may be that exemption were giving the M. Is encouraging behavior that rates jobs that brings in twice as much money. The only way to determine that now leads to go look at every single Juan. And see if that do the cost benefit analysis for each one if you do that you're gonna keep mania. But you're also going to get rid of song and if you can get rid Islam that aren't giving you you value for the taxpayer dollar. Then you turn around and you can law or everybody else's rate. Which she won't an attack system is a broad base. And all over right so that everybody pays a little bit instead I haven't too many people especially for. Part of the problem in Louisiana today adhered everyday Angela animals say it is very carefully. I hear from many middle class taxpayers they say here's the problem Kennedy with with state government. Too many are undeserving people at the top get by acts. And too many on deserving people at the bottom get handouts. And those office in the middle get the deal. And our wages are going up but not to any way going up. Our homeowner's insurance the two wishing for our key is it's our car insurance health insurance health insurance. And and those on the people that pulled the wagon in the middle and we got to start thinking more about. You're right he can't name the 87 largest companies it's just disturbing that. So many of them are not paying anything in in state income tax just something like you're saying. Give them some exemptions that the fact that add value but nothing. No that's a problem stay with us we'll be right back. And we are back with state treasurer John Kennedy. Let's quickly go is running out of time to Roy inherent hand. Roy you're on violent high. Our outlook again what they're actually citizens of that will give that would give it out if we have all these businesses that are taxes. Why is it a problem for the state to consider. To continue with the hearts and that's where this street which is money that's crippling the average man in the war. If it all industry can get a work cart consider why is it. OK coach to share it wide as this they considered diversifying. Its full. You know it's not just put all your games and all of. Well that's a great question let's talk about the film credits. And I stood there were a hundred Nate movie's major movies made in America eighteen of more maiden museum will be very proud of that. The film tax credit program since 2000 and that has cost about a billion dollars and that's obviously a billion dollars we don't happen. And won't ever and we spend it on film credits for universities and coastal restoration and Roche here's what the legislature needs to do and I think it will be too. Doing an objective. Thawra. Careful analysis. Of whether we are giving them more money. For the film credit. Then we're spending on the film critic and lowers the cost benefit analysis if the answer is yes keep it on the film credits if it's not we're gonna have to reform the system. And it ought to be an objective thorough fair study and that's what I thank you ghost in the legislature. I wish we had more time but this man will come back as he always does thank you John Kennedy. Congratulations on every inch reelection I and thank you all for calling in thank you for listening. Enjoy the rest of your day I'm Angela on WW.