Credit Agency Calls Canceled Amid Surplus Dispute

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Treasurer John Kennedy says updates with the state's credit rating agencies were delayed because of questions about whether Louisiana ended its last budget year with a surplus or a deficit.

         Gov. Bobby Jindal's top budget adviser, Kristy Nichols, says the state closed its books with a $179 million surplus after identifying cash that hadn't been calculated over several years.

         Kennedy says the method strays from Louisiana's traditional accounting practices, which would show the state with a $141 million deficit.

         The treasurer says Monday conference calls with the state's bond rating agencies were canceled until he's sure the state doesn't have a "manufactured surplus."

         Nichols spokeswoman Meghan Parrish says the administration agreed to postpone the calls until lawmakers discuss the issue.

         Legislative accountants and fiscal advisers are combing through the numbers.

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