Dardenne says budget deficit down to $304M from $313M

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said the state budget deficit is now $304 million, which is down from $313 million.

He said the new amount is due to lower "anticipated state general fund spending requirements."

He added there's still no way of avoiding cuts to higher education and healthcare in order to balance budget.

"It's better than our earlier number but it is still going to result in significant cuts," Dardenne said in a written release. "There's no way around a reduction in services in areas that we have always deemed critical like higher education and health care. That's where the general fund dollars are so it's difficult not to include them on the cut list."

There is an ongoing proposal to use "rainy day" fund money to lessen the blow, but some state lawmakers oppose that idea.

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