Kennedy spoke about the state’s budget, job opportunities and how he would like to see the future of Louisiana’s economy.
“When you hear talk about this year’s budget and last year’s budget, we’re really talking about where Louisiana will be 10 years from now,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said that he thinks Louisiana needs more available jobs, quoting that 50,000 jobs in the state were lost in the past year alone.
“A person without a job is not healthy, he’s not happy and he’s not free,” he said. “It’s inevitable that a person without a job is going to become a slave to some entitlement program.”
Kennedy also said new jobs in Louisiana would be beneficial because it would keep the younger citizens in the state.
“We have lost many of our best and brightest to Detroit and Denver and Dallas and Atlanta,” he said. “To keep them here, we need jobs.”
Kennedy said a better state tax system would have to be put in place in order for more jobs to surface in the state.
“We need an environment where capital is comfortable and feels wanted,” he said. “The only way to do that is to become a lower tax state.”
Kennedy said, in order to become a lower tax state, the cost of state budget must be lowered. He said the state budget is around $27 billion.
“Do not under any circumstances raise taxes,” Kennedy advised. “That includes fees and that includes tuition. If we would raise taxes right now, it would throw us into a recession.
“I don’t care how high you raise revenue,” he continued. “I’ve watched Gov. Foster raise taxes, I’ve watched Gov. Blanco raise taxes and I’ve watched Gov. Jindal raise taxes.”
Kennedy said he does not think raising taxes would solve any state problems. Instead, he suggested cutting state job positions.
“Louisiana is number one in the South for the number of state jobs,” he explained. “We have 258 jobs per 10,000 people and we can’t afford it. We need to eliminate 5,000 positions each year for the next three years.”
Kennedy said doing so would save the citizens $500 million and $600 million in taxes. He also said it would be possible to cut said jobs without laying anybody off.
According to Kennedy, there are around 17,000 state openings each year. He said by not filling 1/3 of the positions each year would be sufficient.
Kennedy also spoke about cutting state departmental contracts. He gave an example of the Department of Education’s consulting contracts. He said some of the contracts deal with topics such as teaching children how to play with others at recess.
“I’m not saying that all the contracts aren’t necessaries,” he said, “but you can’t convince me that at a time where teachers are coming out of pocket for expenses, at a time where we have classrooms without computers, that that’s an authoritative expenditure.”
Kennedy said he is proud of what progress Louisiana has made thus far.
“God has blessed us,” he said. “We have more oil and gas than most nations do. We are experts. People from all over the world come to Louisiana for work.
“We have the best folks,” Kennedy concluded. “They are hard working, they are God fearing. This is a wonderful state. We’re going to have to create the jobs that this state needs.”