For the second time since November, the Jindal administration is going to have find another hundred million dollars or so to balance this year’s state government budget.
The Revenue Estimating Conference decided Monday that the state should again reduce expected collections from taxes and other sources by another $126 million. That means state government has about $300 million less to spend since November and again must reduce spending for this fiscal year, which ends June 30.
Economists for both the Legislature and the Jindal administration predicted revenues from severance taxes and royalties would be far less than what was predicted.
Greg Albrecht, the Legislature’s economist, priced oil at $69.30 per barrel, which is down nearly $12 per barrel since November, and $23 less than last May when this year’s budget was drafted.
Sales tax collections have come in higher than expected, but not enough to cover the losses from a dramatic decrease in the price of oil, according to the economists’ reports.
That calculates out to another decrease in expected revenue collections of about $126 million. The deficit got almost immediate help with the addition of $22.5 million into the state general fund, which was ordered to be transferred in 2012 from a transportation fund that didn’t have the money until now.
That means the state will have to find $103.5 million to balance the budget.
Going into next fiscal year, 2016, which begins July 1, expected revenue collections should drop $203 million. Next year’s revenues already are expected to be short $1.4 billion.