Oil prices create havoc for Louisiana's budget
BATON ROUGE - Gov. Bobby Jindal will need to slash state spending to keep this year's $25 billion budget balanced, as plummeting oil prices helped hammer Louisiana's revenue picture.
The state's income forecasting panel, known as the Revenue Estimating Conference, on Friday dropped projections of revenue for this year by $171 million.
Economists blamed lower-than-expected severance taxes and mineral royalties because of falling oil prices for more than half the reduction, combined with anemic personal income tax growth.
Jindal has more than a month to decide where he'll cut.
The forecasting panel also cut next year's projections by $201 million.
The grim revenue news only worsens Louisiana's budget woes. The state spent $141 million more last year than it brought in, and next year's shortfall is now pegged at $1.4 billion.