LA Forecasting Panel Expected To Deliver Grim Budget News

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana's income forecasting panel is accounting for the steep drop in oil prices in the state revenue projections.

         The forecast adjustments planned Monday by the Revenue Estimating Conference are expected to worsen next year's already $1.4 billion shortfall — and create another midyear deficit the state has to close before even addressing next year's problems.

         The numbers set by the conference for the year that begins July 1 will be used to craft Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget proposal, due to lawmakers by the end of February.

         About 13 percent of Louisiana's state general fund this year is tied to severance taxes and mineral royalties from energy production. For every dollar drop in the annual oil price for income projections, that's about a $12 million hit to the state general fund.



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