Estimate of Louisiana's budget shortfall drops to $600M
BATON ROUGE - The price tag for Louisiana's budget shortfall next year has dropped to $600 million.
Gov. John Bel Edwards' chief financial adviser Jay Dardenne told state senators Monday that a gap once pegged at $750 million is lower.
Dardenne says that's thanks to savings from Edwards' planned Medicaid expansion and to changed estimates of how many people will use Medicaid services in the financial year that begins July 1.
To close the $600 million hole, the Democratic governor is proposing cuts across most agencies, to the TOPS college tuition program and to safety net health services for the poor. He's also seeking a special session in June to consider tax changes to lessen cuts.
Slidell Sen. Sharon Hewitt questioned the wide swings in health financing estimates, saying it made her "uncomfortable."