Jindal orders spending freeze to avoid shortfall

Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a spending freeze late Friday to ward off a possible state budget shortfall.

“Whereas, to ensure that the State of Louisiana will not suffer a budget deficit due to fiscal year 2013-2014 appropriations exceeding actual revenues and that the budget challenges in the ensuing fiscal year are met, prudent money management practices dictate that the best interests of the citizens of the State of Louisiana will be served by implementing an expenditure freeze throughout the executive branch of state government,” the governor wrote in his order.

It’s a standard precaution.

“There is not a shortfall,” Greg Dupuis, a press officer with the state Division of Administration, wrote in an email. “It is to cover supplemental needs. We have a hiring freeze in place, and we think an expenditure freeze is appropriate.”

The freeze comes just months after the governor curtailed state hiring. It impacts travel, supplies, repairs and other expenses.

However, the governor included more than a dozen exemptions.

They include:

Spending for declared emergencies, such as hurricanes.

Anything funded directly with federal dollars.

Prison supplies and the transportation of offenders.

Field travel and supplies for patient care.

Travel to promote and market the state as a tourism destination.