Budget News and Notes

A few notable stories before Louisiana heads into a frenzied weekend of football and inauguration activities.

– The U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in December, capping a year that saw the economy add 1.9 million private-sector jobs – the most since 2005. But the news would have been even better if 280,000 public employees hadn’t been pink-slipped last year. Jared Bernstein says sustaining this growth should be the top goal for policymakers in the months ahead.

-Locally, the Lake Charles American Press reports that the number of Louisiana residents on food stamps has climbed by 44 percent since 2007.

-In North Louisiana, residents are lining up to oppose Boysie Bollinger’s proposal to buy 195 billion gallons of Toledo Bend water at cut-rate prices so he can sell it to Texas.

-The Times-Picayune reports that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to expand school vouchers could be paid for by raiding the Minimum Foundation Program. The details of the governor’s education agenda – which he refused to discuss in detail while seeking re-election this fall – will likely be unveiled at a Jan. 30 education summit hosted by Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, and others.

Houma Today and other outlets report that Gov. Jindal plans to ignore a panel’s recommendation to cap the size of TOPS scholarships for mediocre students.

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