Louisiana budget balanced with millions tied up in lawsuits
BATON ROUGE - As they scraped together dollars to fill gaps in last year's budget, Louisiana lawmakers relied on $36 million from a state escrow account tied to ongoing tax litigation.
But those dollars can't be spent while the lawsuits are unresolved - and much of the money earmarked for spending in the budget year that ended June 30 remains inaccessible, leaving that fiscal year out of balance.
A $7.8 million transfer was made Tuesday evening after settlement of some litigation.
Obligations tied to escrow money not moved by the mid-August close of books shift to the current financial year.
Senate Finance Chairman Eric LaFleur says he's confident the dollars will be usable in the coming months. Revenue Secretary Kimberly Robinson expects nearly half the cash will be moved from escrow within weeks.