Louisiana faces a $2 billion to $3 billion budget deficit next year. Here's how we can deal with it without destroying health care and higher education:
1. Do not raise taxes or fees. We do not need to. It won't work anyway. Ask California.
2. Louisiana has 258 state jobs per 10,000 people (federal Bureau of Labor Statistics). The national average is 143. Eliminate 5,000 positions each year for three years by not filling one-third of the state's job vacancies each year. Annual savings: $500 million.
3. Require a minimum span of control of one manager for 10 state workers, like Texas and Iowa. Twenty-two percent of Louisiana state government managers supervise one employee (legislative auditor). The average manager supervises four. Annual savings: See No. 2.
4. Eliminate 10 percent (by value) of the state's 16,000 consulting contracts. Annual savings: $750 million.