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Shortfalls To Be Handled Sequentially

Sue Lincoln

The Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget meets Friday to acknowledge the state collected $315 million less in revenue than needed for fiscal year 2016. 

Governor John Bel Edwards said his administration has “pretty much talked through that and we’re going to have proposals for them to consider very shortly.” 

The Governor isn’t revealing any details, partly because last fiscal year’s shortfall in revenue is just part of the problem. 

"We believe that there will be a shortfall in the current fiscal year as well that’s going to have to be addressed” said Edwards.

For the current fiscal year, which began July 1st, the state is anticipating about $9.6 billion in revenue. However, collections through the first four months indicate Louisiana could come up short by as much as one billion dollars.

“We don’t have enough definition around the current mid-year," he said, "but we do know at present revenue is not coming in the way it was forecast.”

But first, they have to deal with the prior year shortfall.

Over the span of two special sessions, the state Legislature increased sales tax by 25% and removed some exemptions for corporations in an effort to raise revenue.

So what happened? 

At last week’s Revenue Estimating Conference, Legislative Fiscal Analyst Greg Albrecht pointed to jobs.

"The employment picture is really the root of all of this, that we’ve been in a real decline whereas the rest of the country has not,” he explained.

Louisiana has the third highest unemployment rate at 6.4%.

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne will unveil proposals for resolving last year’s deficit to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget Friday. In a statement released Tuesday, the Governor said that plan will not involve cuts to TOPS.