Next year's state budget shortfall projected at $713M
BATON ROUGE - Only two months from a difficult budget-balancing session, state lawmakers have gotten their first official glimpse of the shortfall they already face for next year: $713 million.
News Friday of a horizon filled with future budget gaps wasn't unexpected for the Legislature's joint budget committee.
This year's $25 billion budget contains about $550 million in patchwork financing that isn't expected to be available a year later, accounting for much of the projected gap. The shortfall also assumes inflationary increases lawmakers don't always choose to fund.
Lawmakers expressed more immediate worries that the current budget will have to be cut, to account for oil prices that remain below state forecast.
Decisions on how to adjust oil and gas revenue projections, however, aren't expected to come until economists gather more data.