$1.5B State Budget Gap Projected In 2018 When Taxes Expire

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana's lawmakers got an official number for the financial cliff they've created for themselves in 2018: nearly $1.5 billion.

         That's how short the state budget will be in the 2018-19 fiscal year when taxes passed earlier this year by lawmakers — mainly a 1 percent state sales tax increase — hit their expiration dates.

         The financial update was presented Friday to the joint House and Senate budget committee.

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         For now, Louisiana's budget is balanced for the current fiscal year that began July 1, and next year's projection is largely problem-free.

         But the reprieve from financial woes will be brief.

         State officials expect to close the books on the last budget year with a deficit that will have to be closed this year. They should have an estimate later this month.

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