BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) is trimming $275,000 in state general funds from its 2010-2011 budget in response to the deficit from the 2009-2010 state budget year.
The cost savings will come from Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS), the only LWC program that receives state general funds.
No direct service funds will be reduced because of this cut. The LWC instead is eliminating 12 vacant positions, reducing operating costs and generating another $538,000 in savings as a result of the recent transfer of LRS into the LWC. The transfer occurred on July 1, 2010.
The LWC also is accelerating plans for the full integration of LRS’ vocational rehabilitation services with other workforce programs within the LWC to enable to the program to achieve better outcomes in the future.
"Our goal in transferring the program to the LWC is to improve the connection to the workforce for people with disabilities. The budget cut in no way detracts from that mission," LWC Executive Director Curt Eysink said.
In addition to its initiatives with LRS, the LWC has led the development and procurement of a multi-agency fraud, waste and abuse detection system. LWC’s Workers' Compensation fraud unit also increased its referrals for prosecution by 700 percent in 2009 and is on pace to surpass that total in 2010.
Sound policy also has resulted in Louisiana being one of only 20 states as of Sept. 30 with a solvent unemployment insurance compensation trust fund. Louisiana's fund is the second largest in the country despite the national economic downturn resulting in twice as much paid out in benefits during the past 18 months than the 18 months before that.
“The LWC is ready to step forward and increase value for Louisiana taxpayers while decreasing costs,” Eysink said. “We want our agency to operate at peak performance in the most efficient way possible because we value the services we provide and the taxpayers who fund them. We have already proved we can do more with less as we have continuously increased performance while cutting costs over the last two years.”
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