Louisiana Revenue Forecasts Drop Again; Budget Gap At $850M

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana's budget gap has grown worse, now projected at around $850 million, with only four months remaining to rebalance the spending plan.

         The state income forecasting panel downgraded tax revenue projections Wednesday, with economists saying collections across nearly all tax types are far lower than expected.

         Legislative economist Greg Albrecht described Louisiana as being in its own recession. The downturn, Albrecht says, is being at least partly driven by plummeting oil prices and the spill-out effect across the economy.

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         A more than $2 billion shortfall is projected in the fiscal year that begins July 1. But first, Gov. John Bel Edwards and lawmakers have to rebalance this year's budget before the financial year ends June 30.

         Edwards is asking lawmakers to raise taxes in a special session that begins Sunday.

         – by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte

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