Revenue Estimating Adopts Mid-Year Budget Shortfall

The Revenue Estimating Committee met Jan 13 and adopted a mid-year shortfall for the 2016-17 state budget. The estimated shortfall is $340 million, with some adjustments that will leave the state needing to cut $313.5 million before the fiscal year ends on June 30.

Some of the cuts can be handled autonomously by Governor John Bel Edwards, but not all of them. To address the remaining cuts the governor will propose, he plans to call legislators to Baton Rouge for a special session. It appears the call for the special session would include just options to cut from the state budget and no revenue raising measures, as changes to tax structure would not net the state any income until the 2017-18 fiscal year. Many revenue raising measures are expected to be addressed in the Regular Legislative Session, beginning on April 10.

No dates of a special session have been formalized, but it has been speculated the session would begin on February 13 and run somewhere between 10 days and two weeks so the session could conclude before Mardi Gras.

On why Edwards plans to call a special session, he told the Advocate’s Elizabeth Crisp, “I'm confined to a narrow spectrum of the budget as to where I can make adjustments. If we have a special session, every part of the budget, including the judiciary and legislative budget can be opened up. That's a much more responsible approach than just hammering the hell out of higher education and health care.”

To read more on today’s REC hearing and the possibility of a special session, click here.

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