When Louisiana’s favorite Koch-head Bobby Jindal rejected the Medicaid expansion provided under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, he trotted Kathy Kliebert, his third secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) before the legislature to proclaim that the state would have to pay $1.7 billion over a decade for the expansion.
The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Officer, however, cut that 10-year estimate by half: $886 million, pointing out that in the first three years, the expansion would actually reduce state spending.
Never mind that his refusal to accept the $16 billion in new Medicaid money would provide health care for nearly a quarter-million Louisiana residents currently without medical coverage.
Never mind that his decision meant that Louisiana residents, like those in the other 20 or so state that rejected the Medicaid expansion, would be paying for its implementation in other states.
Never mind that the $280 million Medicaid expansion would cost the state in 2022 pales in comparison to the $2.2 billion the state is projected to spend on incentive payments to attract private business to the state—some of which would produce no new jobs or at best, low-paying jobs.
Never mind also the $80.6 million Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) federal grant to provide high speed broadband internet to rural areas of Louisiana—also rejected by Jindal in lockstep compliance with the wishes of the Koch brothers-run American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) agenda.
And never mind the fact that despite Jindal’s disdain for accepting federal funds (remember how he, like Queen Gertrude in Hamlet, protested too much about accepting stimulus funds from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and then helicoptered to all those Protestant churches in North Louisiana to hand out the checks?), Louisiana still ranks as the fourth most dependent on the federal government.
That’s correct; Louisiana is still co-dependent on the federal teat and if Jindal, despite all his anti-government puffery, dared slicing and dicing other federal largesse from an already stressed state budget, he may well have open insurrection on his hands.
Apparently the only area where he can safely reject federal funding to satisfy the far right—especially his benefactors the Koch Brothers, Charles and Bill—is in areas where only the poor and disenfranchised—those unable to fight back—are impacted.
Wall Street Cheat Sheet, an online news service with 11 million monthly readers, notes that despite the ratcheted-up rhetoric between red and blue states, it is the red states (Republican) that are more likely to receive help from the federal government—a fact that helps them keep local tax bills lower and unimaginative politicians like Jindal in power.
In computing its rankings of states’ dependency on federal government, the Cheat Sheet report took three factors into account:
- Return on taxes paid to the federal government. This statistic reflects how many dollars in federal funding state taxpayers receive for every dollar in federal income taxes paid.
- Federal funding as a percentage of state revenue. This metric tells what percentage of a state’s annual revenue is provided by the federal government. Without federal dollars, states would have to look elsewhere for revenue, most likely via tax increases, or cut services. The steady influx of federal funds allows executives like Jindal to eschew tax increases while at the same time publicly scorn federal money.
- Number of federal employees per capita. This illustrates the federal government’s role as a nationwide employer and reveals the percentage of a state’s workforce that owes its livelihood to Washington.
Red states are known for imposing lower taxes than blue states, but it appears they are able to do so because they are more dependent on federal funding, the report says.
The only states more dependent than Louisiana on Washington are (in order) Alabama, New Mexico and Mississippi.
Louisiana’s return on taxpayer investment, for example, if $3.35, meaning the state receives $3.35 for every dollar it sends to Washington. That’s the fourth-highest return in the nation, behind South Carolina ($7.87), North Dakota ($5.31) and Florida ($4.57). That compares to Delaware’s 50 cents return for every dollar paid to Washington and the 56 cents of Illinois and Minnesota.
The 6.76 of its citizens employed by the federal government ranked 14th lowest in the nation.
But that positive was more than offset by the negative metric showing that 44.26 percent of Louisiana’s state budget is funded by federal dollars, second highest only to Mississippi’s 45.84 percent.
That’s correct: the anti-federal government, anti-Washington, more-is-less governor, who preaches the mantra of less government is the best government, serves as chief executive of the state that ranks second in the nation in its voracious appetite for federal dollars.
A quick examination of the bigger line items in the state’s current General Fund and Capital Outlay budgets (which will expire on June 30) is quite revealing—something a little north of $11 billion:
General Appropriations (HB1: FY2013-2014)
- Governor’s office of Coastal Activities: $1,163,604;
- (DOA) Community Development Block Grant: $1,481,607,780;
- Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority: $64,470,311;
- Gov. Off. Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness ; $1,275,010,482;
- Department of Military Affairs: $36,558,254;
- LA. Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Criminal Justice: $21,430,530;
- Office of Elderly Affairs: $22,318,669;
- Louisiana War Veterans Home: $6,837,674;
- State Veterans Cemetery: $769,767;
- Northeast Louisiana War Veterans Home: $6,632,146;
- Southwest Louisiana War Veterans Home: $6,725,639;
- Northwest Louisiana War Veterans Home: $7,015,855;
- Southeast Louisiana War Veterans Home: $6,301,319;
- Criminal Law and Medicaid Fraud: $5,989,344;
- Gaming: $1,375,911;
- Lt. Governor: $5,509,255;
- Agriculture & Forestry: $7,716,818, $4,181,260;
- Office of Business Development (Business Incentives Program): $4,739,367;
- State Library: $3,099,513;
- State Parks: $1,371,487;
- Cultural Development: $2,059,575;
- DOTD (Aviation): $26,761,411;
- Pardons & Parole: $1,480,697;
- Office of State Police: $10,252,081;
- Office of Motor Vehicles: $1,090,750;
- Highway Safety Commission; $34,585,088;
- Office of Juvenile Justice: $891,796;
- Developmental Disabilities Council: $1,355,052;
- Medical Vendor Administration (Medicaid/Medicare): $228,242,058;
- Medical Vendor Administration (Medicare): $4,794,910,040, $185,066,345;
- Other Medicaid, Medicare funds: $185,066,345;
- Office of Public Health: $237,866,451;
- Office of Behavioral Health: $36,185,361;
- Disaster Crisis Counseling Services: $2,320,529;
- Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities: $6,376,792;
- Community and Family Services: $598,538,224;
- Department of Natural Resources: $27,233,004;
- Office of Conservation: $1,752,796;
- Office of Coastal Management: $86,206,980;
- Office of Charitable Gaming: $883,007;
- DEQ: $4,913,837;
- Office of Environmental Compliance: $10,094,810;
- Office of Environmental Services: $4,572,895;
- Office of Management and Finance: $3,207,858;
- Department of Wildlife and Fisheries: $2,781,838;
- Office of Wildlife: $17,526,411;
- Office of Fisheries: $50,914,428;
- Office of Workers Compensation Administration: $165,174,992;
- Board of Regents: $13,363,873;
- Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium: $4,034,667;
- Office of Student Financial Assistance: $67,637,166;
- Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors: $29,713,934;
- Huey P. Long Hospital: $945,558;
- Lallie Kemp Regional Medical Center: $4,800,336;
- W.O. Moss Regional Medical Center: $7,937,503;
- Washington-St. Tammany Regional Medical Center: $5,481,167;
- Southern University Board of Supervisors: $3,654,209;
- Department of Education: $53,743,617, $1,062,669,284, $4,163,877;
- Louisiana Youth for Excellence: $877,185;
- Juvenile Legal Representation: $328,573;
- Education Programs: $18,972,982;
- Medical Vendor Administration: $87,191,390;
- Payments to Private Providers/Services for Medicaid Eligible Children: $844,368,786;
- DHH: $148,223,040;
- Office of Children and Family Services: $426,096,064;
- Louisiana Workforce Commission: $17,465,074;
- LSU System: $1,572,622;
- Department of Education: $1,120,576,778;
- Community Development Block Grant: $1,828,666,994;
- Coastal Protection and Restoration: $6,400,000;
- GOHSEP: $1,275,239,610;
- Education: $19,072,519;
- Military Affairs: $17,184,491;
- Commission on Law Enforcement/administration Criminal Justice: $25,083,035;
- Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs: $812,222;
- Title III, V, VII and NSIP: $21,571,923
Capital Outlay (HB2):
- Department of Military Affairs: $7,389,000;
- Department of Veterans Affairs: $6,849,462;
- DOTD: $30,000,000;
- Wildlife and Fisheries: $1,660,000;
- St. Helena Court House: $2,680,000;