Louisiana will close the books on the last budget year with a surplus around $300 million, the third year in a row the state has taken in more money than it immediately spent, Gov. John Bel Edwards said today.
The Democratic governor announced the surplus estimate at the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association summer conference during a gubernatorial candidate forum where he faced off against one of his Republican opponents on the Oct. 12 ballot, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham.
Louisiana has had three years of cash balances when budget years ended: $123 million from 2016-17, $308 million from 2017-18, and the latest one from the 2018-19 fiscal year that ended June 30.
Edwards said an official number of the leftover cash won’t be known for several more weeks. He said the estimate comes from his budget analysts’ calculations. It’s unclear which tax collections came in better than expected to account for the surplus. The governor declared it “another good sign for the state of Louisiana,” but some conservative Republicans say the continued surpluses show the tax hikes went too far and some of the taxes should be scaled back.
Lawmakers and the governor will decide how to spend the surplus cash in the 2020 legislative session. Read the full story.