Louisiana's budget gap pegged at $963 million next year - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Louisiana's budget gap pegged at $963 million next year

By MELINDA DESLATTE
Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The first snapshot of next year's state budget shortfall has been unveiled to lawmakers, and it's grim.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget advisers said Friday the state is short $963 million to continue running all existing programs and account for inflationary growth in the budget year that begins July 1.

Barry Dusse, director of the Office of Planning and Budget, says more than one-third of the gap, about $355 million, is tied to a drop in federal Medicaid financing that also created a deficit this year.

Another slice of the shortfall, at least $164 million, includes inflation costs, merit raises for state employees and other items that lawmakers haven't necessarily funded in recent years.

More than $250 million involves the loss of 1-time dollars that paid for continuing programs.

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