You can bet one of the first phone calls Louisiana's new Governor will receive once he is inaugurated in January will be from representatives of Louisiana's colleges and universities. Higher education, it seems, has been the budget whipping boy of the Jindal administration. Those officials who oversee higher education in our state are planning on making a significant appeal to the new Governor to restore some of the funding that was taken away.

Just to give you an idea of how much money our state's higher educational facilities are lacking take a look at these numbers. According to Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo the State Board of Regents receives $769-million in state money that is dispersed to our colleges and universities. The Board of Regents plans to ask for an additional $636-million for the next fiscal year just to meet workforce demands.

Rallo told the Louisiana Radio Network what that additional money will be used for.

For those additional dollars, we'll produce the workforce to close the gaps for the jobs that are there.

The chances of the State actually honoring that reques

t are slim to none but Rallo says they have to make the ask. He believes if our leaders really want to grow our economy and bring in better jobs it's going to start with higher education.

Unless we're able to get the dollars to produce the employees, we may lose many of the potential jobs.

Here is the part of the story that could upset many of you. The money for higher education is there. It's already in the budget. That money was just "Jindaled" , a new word I made up, to other areas of government.

The revenue is there, it's just not being spent against the priorities and they've all indicated that higher ed is priority is number one.

Here is our challenge in this story. Both David Vitter and John Bel Edwards have publicly stated their support for a strong, well funded, system of higher education in our state. Let's make whomever is elected honor that promise and keep Louisiana's future moving in the right direction.