04/14 - State Contracts 101

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Will proposed legislation help rein in costs or create arbitrary caps that hinder agencies in delivering services?
A big push by Governor Jindal has been the privatization of state government operations which he says will save taxpayer money. To accomplish this, the state has contracted with outside providers for professional, personal and consulting services. Currently, Louisiana has nearly 13,000 active contracts - the majority for $50,000 or more.

A proposed bill this legislative session would reduce state spending on contracts by 10 percent. But the Jindal administration says that contracting in state government is already being reduced. And some of the biggest contracts are essential to provide assistance to the public such as the administration of health insurance programs or to fill drug prescriptions for retirees.

So, is the privatization of state services through contracts cost-effective? And how necessary and appropriate are the majority of state contracts? Will proposed legislation help rein in their costs or create arbitrary caps that hinder agencies in delivering much-needed services? Louisiana Public Square educates viewers about the issue on “State Contracts 101” Wednesday, April 23 at 7 p.m. on LPB HD.
1. Some people argue that contracting private companies to perform state government services can save money and provide those services more quickly and at a lower cost. Others argue that privatizing state government services means there is less accountability for how services are provided and little or no cost savings. What about you? In general, do you think contracting private companies to perform government services is a good thing or bad thing, or you haven't given it enough thought?
2. When it comes to services provided by the state of Louisiana, who do you think does a more timely and high quality job? Government employees, or private employees for a government paid contractor?
3. If state government were to privatize certain services, do you think state government should give preference to businesses that are owned and operated in Louisiana?
4. There is currently a proposal in state government to reduce all government contracts to private companies by 10%. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
5. In general when the state contracts out state services to private companies rather than performing the work internally, do you think the state saves money, spends more money than if they did the work internally, or the cost is about the same?
6. In general, do you think hospitals in Louisiana should be run by the state, or by private companies?
7. In general, do you think Prisons in Louisiana should be run by the state, or by private companies?
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