New budget hearings open, with $600M gap lingering this year
BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers are getting an early jump on budget negotiations for the upcoming state financial year, but with a warning they have as much as a $600 million hole to close in this year's spending plan first.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, the governor's chief budget adviser, reminded the House Appropriations Committee that lawmakers have yet to deal with a $313 million deficit.
He also said he's expecting another $300 million or more could be added to the total when Louisiana's income forecasting panel revises its tax collection projections next week.
Dardenne said "dramatic cuts" will be required in agencies to close the gap.
The Appropriations Committee opened hearings Tuesday to look at how agencies are spending the money they were allocated this year and what they've requested for next year.