Louisiana Budget Reductions, Governor’s Budget Proposal
In January, the Louisiana Revenue Estimating Conference lowered revenue forecasts for 2014-15 by $103.5 million and for 2015-16 by $203.8 million. The governor released his 2014-15 mid-year budget reduction plan in February and made $67.1 million in reductions by executive order. The Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget (JLCB) met in February and approved to close the remaining $36.4 million shortfall. The governor subsequently presented his budget proposal to the JLCB. The $24.6 billion 2015-16 budget would reduce spending by 4.7 percent over the enacted 2014-15 budget to close a $1.6 billion gap.
State general funds would total $9.0 billion — $3.5 billion of which would fund K-12 education. The governor recommends $405,000 in general funds to provide tuition assistance to eligible children to attend select schools with special needs programs. Higher education funding would decrease to $763.0 million in general funds, down 17.4 percent. The proposal includes $34 million to fully fund the TOPS scholarship program, which would receive $284.3 million.