State lawmakers now have more to spend after revenue estimates get a boost

Published 11:45 am Friday, May 10, 2024

By Elizabeth White | LSU Manship School News Service

The Revenue Estimating Conference increased its state-revenue estimates Wednesday, giving lawmakers up to $197 million more money to spend in this fiscal year and $89 million more next year.

The current budget year ends June 30. To spend more than $86 million of the $197 million in excess funds for this year, two-thirds of the lawmakers would have to agree to breach a constitutional spending limit, and it seems unlikely they would do that.

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Excess funds like this are usually spent on roads and other one-time projects or to reduce state debt.

The estimating conference, made up of top government officials and economists, increased the state general fund forecast for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, by $88.6 million.

Gov. Jeff Landry and lawmakers will be able to factor these funds into a budget under discussion now.

The additional revenue in these forecasts is coming from larger corporate and severance tax collections than expected and higher interest earnings on investments.

It is not clear yet what how the Legislature will spend the additional money for next year.

But there is likely to be pressure to use some of the extra money to increase spending on K-12 and early-childhood education and to increase one-time stipends for public school teachers.