Louisiana surplus estimate grows to $500M, up from $300M

Louisiana surplus estimate grows to $500M, up from $300M
It's estimated Louisiana's budget surplus could be as much as $500 million, as opposed to the previous figure of $300 million. (Source: Unsplash.com)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's latest surplus will be larger than expected, reaching $500 million, rather than the $300 million previously discussed.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' chief budget adviser, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, told state lawmakers the latest figure Friday.

He says Louisiana closed the books on the last budget year that ended June 30 with larger-than-expected personal income and corporate tax collections.

The news falls in the middle of a hotly contested governor's race, where Edwards' Republican challengers are criticizing the Democratic governor for tax hikes.

Lawmakers disagreed about whether Friday's news was the sign of a strong economy, solely the result of President Donald Trump's tax changes or an indication that Louisiana residents are paying too much in taxes.

Surpluses can only be used for savings, debt payments and construction work.