La. state revenue drops $2B in two years

BATON ROUGE, LA (AP) - Louisiana's revenue estimates have plunged by more than $2 billion over two years.

The state's income forecasting panel received updated revenue figures Wednesday that showed the state's general fund dropped an estimated $812 million from the 2007-08 year to last year.

And projections of another $1.3 billion general fund decline were built into the budget for this year, the 2009-10 fiscal year. If those estimates hold, that would mean the state's income has fallen $2.1 billion from the budget year that ended June 30, 2008, to the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2010.

The decline is tied to plummeting oil and gas prices, a slowdown in hurricane recovery spending that had boosted tax income, and tax breaks passed by lawmakers, Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Gov. Kathleen Blanco that siphoned money from the treasury.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-09-24-09 0538EDT