Savings estimates drop for tobacco bond refinance

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to refinance Louisiana's tobacco settlement bonds has run into snags driven by

changing financial market conditions.

Estimates of how much money Louisiana can get with a refinancing have sunk.

Treasurer John Kennedy, a critic of the refinancing structure used, said savings estimates dropped from $140 million to $66

million. Jindal's Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols says the projections are around $75 million.

But if the refinancing was postponed, it would create budget problems. More than $60 million anticipated from the bond deal

is plugged into the 2013-14 budget for the TOPS free college tuition program.

Nichols says the administration doesn't intend to postpone the refinancing and will move forward with the guidance of financial

advisers. She says it's still a good deal for the state.