Louisiana’s budget gap for next year projected to be $1.5B

Louisiana’s looming mid-2018 budget gap is projected to be $1.5 billion.

That’s the official price tag in documents to be presented to lawmakers today, the first update since the legislative sessions ended in June. Most of the shortfall projected for the budget year that begins July 1, 2018, is tied to the expiration of temporary sales taxes enacted by lawmakers last year.

The rest of the budget hole accounts for rising costs expected for prisoner housing, elections, the Medicaid program, K-12 public schools and other inflationary expenses.

Lawmakers left Baton Rouge earlier this summer without doing much to address the so-called “fiscal cliff” that hits in less than a year. Gov. John Bel Edwards has been unsuccessful so far in getting support for a tax plan to close the gap.

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