Monday, December 15, 2008

Louisiana faces $2 billion shortfall next year; $345 million deficit in current budget

Plummeting energy prices and a national economic slowdown have combined to rip a $341 million hole in the current-year state budget and created a $2 billion shortfall for next year, a forecasting panel decided today.

An earlier forecast had predicted a $1.3 billion gap in the 2009-10 fiscal year that starts July 1.

The revised forecast by the Revenue Estimating Conference, a four-member panel that decides how much money the state can spend each year, means colleges and universities, health-care programs for the poor and other state services will likely face steep budget cuts in the weeks ahead.

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