House Republicans taking new approach to Louisiana budget

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - As they craft next year's budget, Louisiana's House Republicans are looking to the past, burrowing into agency spending trends.

GOP members of the House Appropriations Committee are trying to determine if departments are socking away pots of money or overestimating how much money they're going to collect.

The House's nonpartisan financial analysts say of the $29.3 billion operating budget lawmakers adopted for the 2017-18 fiscal year, agencies only spent $26.8 billion.

That doesn't equate to a state surplus.

Instead, agencies often anticipate they'll receive more cash than they get from fees, grants, or the federal government. The extra spending authority gives agencies wiggle room to collect more money without having to return to lawmakers for permission to spend it.

Republicans say that gives lawmakers too little information about spending.