Louisiana to have $1.6 billion budget surplus
MONROE, La. (KNOE) -Lawmakers in Baton Rouge will have a lot of money to spend over the next couple of months.
Louisiana is expected to have a surplus of over $1.6 billion due to increased revenue in the previous and current fiscal years.
It’s important to note, lawmakers will only have about $850 million to spend after $400 million is used to make a payment on a federal loan the state took out after Hurricane Katrina. In addition, 25% must go towards the state’s rainy day fund.
Senator Jay Morris, who represents six Louisiana Parishes, including Ouachita, Lincoln, Jackson, Grant, Winn, and Rapides, wants to see the money spent on infrastructure.
“That would be my priority,” Senator Morris explained. “To spend it on things that we normally don’t have the money for that need to be done.”
“We have got to make sure that we are investing in projects that are shovel-ready,” said Senator Stewart Cathey Jr. He represents parts of Ouachita, Lincoln, Morehouse, Union, and West Carroll Parishes. “We can truly improve roads, and the water and sewer issues that we’ve got.”
Morris and Cathey have some specific ideas about where the money can be spent in their districts.
“The Tech campus, the ULM campus have infrastructure needs that have been ignored,” Morris told KNOE.
“We have got some sewer issues across the entire district, and we are actually compiling a list right now to make sure we can get as much of the money to those projects,” Cathey told KNOE Political Reporter Tyler Englander.
Cathey argues it’s crucial to spend the money on one-time projects, not recurring expenses.
“That’s what got us into a hole in the past,” Cathey explained. “We were taking surplus dollars and putting them into things that will have long-term costs. That is definitely not the way to handle this.”
Louisiana is also expected to have a $771 million surplus in the fiscal year that starts on July 1st.
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