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John Kennedy's Blog

Category Archives: Labor & Jobs

I'm Running for U.S. Senate

Today, State Treasurer John Kennedy issued the following statement:

“I will be a candidate for the United States Senate in 2016.

The reason is pretty simple:  I want my country back.   I'm scared we are losing it.  

My Dad and Mom were conservative people.  Dad was a small businessman. He owned a little lumberyard.  Mom was a retired schoolteacher.  They taught me conservative values:  God, country, family, discipline, hard work and education.  They taught me to always do the best I can.  I worry that America is losing those values.

Here's what I see:   too many undeserving people at the top getting bailouts and too many undeserving people at the bottom getting handouts.  And we in the middle get the bill.  So will our kids.  It's not right.

The sad truth is that our children's generation is at risk of becoming the first in America to be worse off than their parents', because it's harder than ever to get ahead and easier than ever to do nothing. 

I want more for my country and my state. 

I want a country that respects taxpayer dollars.  I'm sick of the waste, and I'm sick of the debt. 

I want an America and a Louisiana where every person can get a decent job.  You can't be for jobs if you are against business.  To create jobs, our businesses need low taxes, sensible regulations, good infrastructure and a skilled workforce. 

I want an America and a Louisiana in which no parents have to send their child to a failing school.

I want an America and a Louisiana where parents can take their sick child to a family doctor instead of to an emergency room because they have decent, affordable insurance of their own choosing from the private sector. 

I want a country that is strong and therefore free, that values peace but is not afraid to fight back.  America is the most powerful country in the history of the world.  We need to start acting like it.  

I want an America and a Louisiana that understand that free market capitalism has done more to lift people out of poverty than all the government programs put together.  Welfare was meant to be a bridge, not a parking lot.

I want a country and a state that protect life – whether that life is 82 years old or 82 seconds. 

Most Louisianians know me and what I stand for.  As State Treasurer, I've balanced 16 department budgets, earned taxpayers $3.4 billion by investing their money wisely,  returned $315 million in lost money to citizens, refused to join the state retirement system, fought against corruption and cronyism,  and stood up to politicians more powerful than I am in both parties.

I try not to be rude, but I speak my mind.  Some politicians call me a troublemaker, a misfit, a rebel, a square peg in a round hole, because I'm not part of the club.  I think I make the right people mad.  My job is to protect taxpayers, not seek the approval of my political peers.

I hope voters will give me a chance to do the same thing in the United States Senate.  I believe our country and our state can be better than our present, and our past. 

May God bless us and keep us, and make his face shine upon us, Louisiana and the United States of America.”

The Truth About State Job Costs

You may have read or heard that Louisiana state government is spending less of your hard-earned taxpayer dollars because it has fewer employees. That's not true.

It is accurate that we have reduced the number of state jobs over the past 6 years or so by 7%, or about 1.2% a year, mostly by not filling vacancies, but we are spending at least $650 million more on salaries and benefits after the reduction. In other words, weíre going backwards.

A February 2012 report by the Legislative Auditor explains why. According to the Auditor, on June 30, 2005, Louisiana state government had 94,733 total positions in the executive branch. We had 83,533 on June 30, 2011. In the past 9 months, however, we have added 4,326 positions for a total of 87,859, according to the April 13, 2012 ìwarm bodyî report of the Department of State Civil Service. Thatís an overall decrease of 7% in a little over 6 years.

But here ís the thing. In his report the Auditor also found that over this 6 year period Louisiana taxpayers are spending:

  • $397 million more on salaries;
  • $47 million more on ìother payî (overtime, incentive pay, shift differential pay); and
  • $210 million more on benefits (health insurance and retirement).

Thatís $650 million additional taxpayer dollars despite the reduction of 6,874 positions. And, according to the Auditor, that doesnít even include the increased spending on ìother payî and benefits for higher education that the Auditor ìcould not determineî (see page 11 of his report) because higher education has its own separate computer system.

This is unacceptable. The state budget has increased $6 billion since 2005, or 32%, without counting federal ìhurricane dollars.î We now know one of the reasons why.

Every unnecessary taxpayer dollar state government spends to lead the South in the number of state jobs adjusted for population is a dollar less we have to invest in roads, schools, universities, health care, coastal restoration and small business development. Every dollar we spend on unnecessary labor costs is a dollar less we have to return to taxpayers, through lower taxes, to spend on themselves, their children and their retirement. 

Other states do their jobs with fewer employees. If they can do it, Louisiana can too.

Don't take my word for it. Read the Legislative Auditor's report yourself. Go to and click on "reports & data."

Louisiana taxpayers deserve better. Louisiana state government can do better.

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