State to begin preparing $198 million in additional budget cuts

The panel that watches over the flow of state revenues said Wednesday that collections are off by about $198 million this year, forcing cuts in the budget adopted by lawmakers last spring. The Revenue Estimating Conference voted 4-0 to accept the lower estimates prepared by the Legislative Fiscal Office, the arm of the Legislature that tracks economic activity and tax revenues.

Current estimates “appear to be too high,” fiscal office chief economist Greg Albrecht told the panel. He said the biggest shortfall is in the state’s collections of personal income tax, which is off about $142.5 million from earlier projections.

The oil and gas severance tax followed it closely, Albrecht said, down about $128.5 million from what had been projected.

Other areas of state revenues were holding up, such as the state tobacco settlement and sale of lottery tickets. Vehicle sales taxes also are running about $15 million ahead of projections.

Read more at NOLA.com