Judge questions Jindal budget balancing method

BATON ROUGE (AP) — A judge has decided that Gov. Bobby Jindal and lawmakers shouldn't have used dollars from a retirement fund for probation and parole officers to balance the state operating budget.

If Tuesday's ruling is upheld, the implications could be larger than repaying the $3.7 million, because the Jindal administration and Legislature have used similar tactics to repeatedly balance Louisiana's budget in recent years.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1eJDnJu) Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols says the state will appeal Judge William Morvant's ruling. She said she expects it to be overturned by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

The Louisiana Probation and Parole Officers Association sued after $3.7 million from a fund that takes a portion of probation and parole fees to enhance retirement benefits was instead moved last year into the state's general fund.