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State looks to hire private agency to collect debts

Gov. Bobby Jindal's chief budget aide says he wants to hire a private company to advise him on the best way to collect more than $1 billion owed to state government.

Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater tells The Advocate the unpaid bills include medical services, college tuition installment payments, environmental quality monitoring and other expenses.

With state government struggling to pay its own bills during the economic downturn, state officials are pressing the governor to get aggressive about the debts.

Two years ago, Jindal backed legislation to establish a debt recovery program within the state Department of Revenue. The legislation died.

Rainwater said he will reveal more details on his proposal when the Cash Management Review Board meets Friday at the State Capitol.

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