Baton Rouge - Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statement on the budget shortfall for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2016 (FY 16). The Revenue Estimating Conference announced that the FY 16 shortfall was approximately $313 million. According to state law, any deficit for the previous fiscal year must be addressed prior to the end of the next fiscal year. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne will outline the specifics of the budget stabilization proposals at a Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget hearing on Friday, Nov. 18.

“Stabilizing Louisiana’s budget is my top priority, but we are still recovering from years of mismanagement,” said Gov. Edwards. “Unfortunately, our options are limited, and given the ongoing financial crisis of our state, nothing is painless anymore. However, we knew this shortfall existed and worked with state agencies to prepare for it without causing unnecessary harm. 

“Our work in the 2017 legislative session will be more important than ever as we find ways to reform our state’s broken tax code so that we can make critical investments in higher education, TOPS and the future of our state. This isn’t the last of our budget challenges, and cuts for the current fiscal year will also be necessary and painful, but if we can work together in the regular session, Louisiana will be in a strong financial position for the future.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 8, Gov. Edwards met with House and Senate leaders to discuss the options for closing the budget shortfall.

In June, Gov. Edwards discussed the shortfall that would need to be addressed this fall. The shortfall is for the previous fiscal year that ended on June 30. A clip of those remarks is available by clicking here.

Over the course of the special legislative session, Gov. Edwards and Commissioner Dardenne asked lawmakers to approve revenue-raising measures to avoid these cuts, however, some in the legislature assumed tax collections would increase over the summer months and refused to address the pending shortfall. A NOLA.com article outlines Gov. Edwards’ warnings and is available by clicking here.

Facts on Gov. Edwards’ Proposals:

  • Since taking office, Gov. Edwards has cut more than $550 million in state spending, not including an additional $276 million he will make unilaterally by executive order this week.
  • No additional funds are taken from TOPS in this recent proposal.
  • The Edwards’ Administration will make 12 medical vendor payments on time for the fiscal year. However, in 2015, then-Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration only made 11 payments, leaving Gov. Edwards to budget for 13, rather than 12. The $152 million “Jindal Payment” will be further delayed due to budget constraints.
  • Higher education officials were put on notice of possible budget cuts. However, the $18 million reduction is smaller than anticipated for universities.

Click here for a one-pager on the state’s plan to eliminate the FY 16 shortfall.