We were warned – repeatedly over the last couple of years – and now it looks to come to pass: because of unwise new spending commitments, a string of general fund budget deficits are poised to head Louisiana’s way over the next three years.
This week, the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget met to make its usual budget adjustments and to collect information on current and projected revenues and costs, and the picture wasn’t pretty. For fiscal years 2024-26, at this point the general fund is predicted short nearly $2 billion.
Some of the gap comes from one-time measures. For FY 2024, $553 million must go to storm-related expenditures for state matches for relief from and hardening against future flooding, but that still leaves $255 million in uncovered ongoing expenses. That would have been covered except for the termination of $286 million extra in in regular Medicaid matching from the federal government as a result of pandemic emergency spending.