AP analysis: Revenue doesn't match Jindal's picture
The state's budget woes keep piling up, with income forecasts newly slashed by half a billion dollars as revenue doesn't show the rebound once predicted. But despite signs to the contrary, Gov. Bobby Jindal keeps praising the performance of the state's economy. The numbers aren't reflecting that reality, and the economists devising the state's revenue projections can't find much to praise. A combination of the lingering impact of the national recession and big-ticket tax breaks have hammered the state treasury and have created years of budget gaps, continuing again this year. Louisiana's Revenue Estimating Conference, which forecasts state income, on April 24 lowered estimates by nearly $211 million for this year, a deficit that could force deep cuts across state services in the final two months of the budget year. Meanwhile, the conference cut next year's income forecast by $304 million, meaning lawmakers also will have to find places to slash spending in the 2012-13 budget they are currently crafting. Economists working for the governor and the Legislature say income tax collections remain sluggish and well below expectations, in some categories barely keeping up with inflation. "The underlying economy is apparently weaker than it's reported to be," said Greg Albrecht, the chief economist for the Legislative Fiscal Office. Read the full analysis by The Associated Press here.
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