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Louisiana's current budget woes mirror 1988 financial gaps

8 months 1 week 4 days ago February 11, 2016 Feb 11, 2016 Thursday, February 11 2016 February 11, 2016 7:38 AM in News
Source: Associated Press
By: Melinda Deslatte

BATON ROUGE- As Gov. John Bel Edwards struggles to stabilize Louisiana's finances, the troubles mirror the deep budget difficulties the state faced 28 years ago.

Long-timers at the Louisiana Capitol equate today's financial woes with similar problems Gov. Buddy Roemer inherited when he took office in March 1988. He had a deficit in the range of $800 million to $1 billion - in a budget that totaled only about $7.5 billion.

To steady the finances nearly three decades ago, millions in new user fees were charged for services. Some taxes were boosted. Cuts were levied across agencies.

To get money flowing to vendors and workers, Louisiana took out a $1 billion loan, repaid over eight years with existing state sales tax revenue, through a special taxing authority called the Louisiana Recovery District.

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