Louisiana revenue forecasting stalemate ends after 5 months

    Louisiana’s latest financial impasse between Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards and House Republican leaders ended Wednesday, when the House speaker agreed to adopt a brightened income forecast that gives lawmakers more money to spend.

    House Speaker Taylor Barras was the lone holdout on the state’s Revenue Estimating Conference to oppose boosting the projections. But he relented five months after GOP leaders started repeatedly blocking the improved forecasts.

    The required unanimous vote from the conference gives lawmakers $110 million more in general state tax revenue to spend in the budget year that ends June 30 and $119 million more next year.

    Barras said he felt more comfortable with economists’ predictions of the dollars that would arrive in the treasury after having the additional five months of data collection. He noted the increases adopted Wednesday were smaller than those recommended months ago.

    “My issue from November ’til now has been let’s make sure we get that number as close as we possibly can,” the New Iberia Republican said.

    Wednesday’s vote broke through a stalemate that threatened to derail the budget debate in a short, two-month legislative session that must wrap up June 6.

    The increases are slightly less than the Edwards administration wanted. Barras agreed to take the lower of two estimates of what would arrive in general tax collections. Also, some House Republicans don’t want to spend the full amount in the projections. Read the full story.

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