Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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State economist: La. entering recession

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BATON ROUGE - The economic outlook of the state took a dramatic, somber turn Wednesday morning when revenue estimators met at the capitol.

The deficit for the current fiscal year grew to almost $1 billion. It had hovered around $750 million until Wednesday. The fiscal year ends at the end of June. Lawmakers will have to balance the budget and start a special session on addressing the crisis this weekend.

Revenue experts also predicted a growth in next year's projected deficit; now more than $2 billion.

Part of the budget problem deals with falling oil prices and state economist Greg Albrecht predicted the state is entering its own recession.

Also Wednesday, Governor John Bel Edwards announced he'll address the budget crisis in a presentation Thursday evening.

"The challenges facing Louisiana are so severe, and the risk of doing nothing is so big, that it is important for me to outline these problems directly to the people," Gov. Edwards said. "I promised to be open and transparent with the people of Louisiana and give them the facts, and that's what I intend to do. There are some real consequences if we do not work together to solve the state's financial problems and I want to personally communicate them to the citizens of our state."

Edwards will address the issue Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Coverage will begin immediately on WBRZ.com and a television report on the situation will air on WBRZ News 2 at 10:00 Thursday evening.


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