Louisiana Has 300 Million Dollar Surplus from Previous Fiscal Year

Published: Sep. 21, 2018 at 10:57 PM CDT
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Governor John Bel Edwards says Louisiana has a $300 million surplus.

But that comes after three special sessions to make ends meet.

"I'm excited. It shows a trend, even with the (budget) hole that we're in," said State Representative Katrina Jackson.

The $300 million dollar surplus is news some state lawmakers rejoice in.

It's the latest confirmation from Governor John Bel Edwards, who says it's a sign of economic improvement.

"There were more jobs, people brought home better paychecks, and business were more profitable."

But with this surplus, some Republican lawmakers question if the governor exaggerated the need for tax hikes.

Still, there are many wondering what this money could've done.

Rep. Jackson says,"What people need to understand is that in that surplus, there's so much we can do with it, it's constitutionally protected."

Meaning 25% goes towards the state's rainy day account, and 10% towards offsetting the budget deficit.

The rest gets spent on projects including state construction, coastal restoration, and state building maintenance.

Representative Katrina Jackson even believes the money could've helped offset money spent during the recent special legislative sessions.

But the numbers weren't known then.

"At the time the projections didn't show us $300 million when revenue estimating committee met."

Still, some Republican lawmakers say the surplus is only 3 to 4% of the general fund.

"It's not a huge amount. It's a significant amount of money and hopefully we'll spend it correctly," said Sen. Mike Walsworth.

The money comes from personal business and tax collections.

Lawmakers will make further discussions about the surplus in the next session.