The release of a Louisiana governor’s annual budget recommendations typically follows a well-worn script, with charts, reams of financial figures and agency-by-agency comparisons. Things likely will be far muddier today with the release of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ latest budget proposal.
The last financial forecast for the upcoming 2019-20 budget year was adopted in June. Those figures, however, don’t reflect the recommendations of state economists who expect tax collections to be higher, and they’re missing billions that agencies expect to receive from fees, fines and other revenue sources.
Forecast changes are stalled in the latest disagreement between House Republican leaders and the Democratic Edwards administration. Under state law, Louisiana’s governor is supposed to use the last official forecast to build his budget proposal.
The Edwards administration hasn’t yet said publicly what it will release later today to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Edwards’ budget proposal could either be an aspirational document about what the governor believes is expected to show up in the state treasury and how he’d like to spend it, or it could be a proposal that leaves huge cuts and gaps across state agencies, without dollars that generally are expected to show up to fill those holes.
State law requires the Revenue Estimating Conference, the state income forecasting panel, to “revise the official forecast for the ensuing fiscal year” by January. But that hasn’t happened. Read the full story.