Not that legislators or Gov. Bobby Jindal had an easy task at hand. The FY 2015 budget the day it went into effect started about $1 billion short, or four percent, for FY 2016. This did not count known spending growth demands (such as in health care driven by federal grant strictures) nor subsequent coming up short in forecast revenues (about $275 million worth), largely because of the steep decline in the energy sector (although almost half of that was recovered by an unseen surplus developing during the session).
In previous years, funds sweeps – where monies for a particular purpose had pooled but lack of the need for which they were intended built up their balances then made accessible for other purposes by appropriation – had made up much of the imbalance. But this year, a combination of the larger size of the deficit plus the deterioration of these funds’ positions (such as with the Medicaid Trust Fund for the Elderly, which was depleted in time for a constitutional amendment to kick in locking in reimbursement rates for nursing homes funds for which had been drawn from the fund) made this strategy unable to close the gap entirely, with only around $135 million sorted out this way.