Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Showdown at the College Corral?

There are currently two legislatively authorized commissions seeking ways to make Louisiana work even better. They are holding televised hearings with expert witnesses. Those witnesses are offering testimony that will become language in bills to be introduced in upcoming legislative sessions.

These two commissions could be ambling toward an earth-shaking showdown next spring.

One of those, the so-called Tucker Commission, wants to make higher education more effective and efficient. It comprises several outside experts, as well as representatives of the Board of Regents, LSU board, Southern University board, University of Louisiana board and Community and Technical College board.

The commission must present its findings to the legislature by February 12, 2010, 45 days before the regular legislative session convenes.

The second panel is the Commission on Streamlining Government. Its job is to find ways to make Louisiana's government smaller and cheaper.

By December 15, the panel is supposed to make its own set of recommendations for lawmakers to consider in the next legislative session.

This is where it gets explosive. As Gannett reporter Mike Hasten writes here, the streamlining commission is considering the abolition of all higher education boards except for the Board of Regents. That's an idea favored by State Treasurer John Kennedy, among others.

But the higher education commission includes all of the bodies that Kennedy has in his gun sights. It's not likely that they will recommend their own termination.

Rock, meet hard place. Coming to a legislative session near you, Spring 2010.

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