Lawmaker says more cuts possible this fiscal year
Legislators already are bracing for a revenue shortfall next fiscal year. But Rep. Brett Geymann, R-Lake Charles, says even after the midyear cuts announced earlier this month there still may be cuts ahead for this fiscal year when contingencies built into the current budget fail to materialize. For example, he says the state budget anticipates revenue from the sale or lease of the New Orleans Adolescent Hospital. According to published reports, the Jindal administration expected to raise $35 million from NOAH, although appraisals show it is worth less than $21 million. In any event, Geymann says, there is no deal in place that has been announced. "We believe it's quite possible we're going to have another cut before the year is out," he says. "The problem is every year when we craft a budget, we don't live within the boundaries." Geymann is a leader of the self-described "fiscal hawks." Many of those conservative legislators have argued that the state spending plan unconstitutionally uses "one-time" money to balance the budget. The Jindal administration says the budget passed this year is constitutional and responsible while protecting critical services, and says the midyear deficit is strictly a function of revenues falling short of the original forecast. —David Jacobs
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