BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The state of Louisiana will have some extra money to work with after the economy bounced back from the pandemic better than expected.
At the start of the pandemic, those in charge of forecasting the year’s revenue saw the economy shutting down and other negative indicators. So, they forecasted for a lower revenue amount, but the state has been performing well in the fiscal year 2021 and exceeded that prediction.
“You’re not going to hit it right on the money. Try though you may there our revenue estimating conference is not going to get it exactly on the money,” Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said. “You like to structure a budget based upon having money at the end of the year that can be used to make up for some things that arose during the year that you didn’t have a budget for.”
Fiscal year 2022 is already showing promise.
“We’re optimistic of where we’ll be in this fiscal year,” Dardenne said.
Fiscal year 2021 is ending with $1 billion in surplus. Under the constitution, some of that money will have to go towards the Budget Stabilization Fund. Around $650 million will be allowed to be spent.
“We’ll recommend that money be evenly divided between coastal projects, deferred maintenance projects within the state primarily on university campuses, and the department of transportation and development to go to the backlog we have on our roads and bridges,” Dardenne said.
The state legislature is also tasked with doling out the remaining money from the American Rescue Plan. There are still over a billion dollars to be used with only half being allocated in the 2021 legislative session. The first pot was put towards ports, broadband expansion, and refilling the unemployment fund among other agencies and projects.
With the rare chance of an excess of money, a lot of once-in-a-lifetime projects can move forward.
“The good news is I think we will have a significant amount of money to spend and I hope and believe that we will spend it wisely,” Dardenne said.
The use of that money will be decided by lawmakers in the 2022 regular session.