Higher education, health care to suffer most from budget cuts

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 14, 2012 at 7:44 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 14 at 8:01 AM

WWLTV.com
Email: webteam@wwltv.com | Twitter: @WWLTV

NEW ORLEANS - December 2012 marks the middle of the state's budget year, and for the last four years, actual revenues have been less than projected, forcing mid-year cuts to keep the $25 billion budget balanced.

Gov. Bobby Jindal will announce major mid year-cuts for Louisiana on Wednesday.

The state's Revenue Estimating Conference said $129 million in budget cuts are needed.

The prime targets for the cuts will be higher education and health care, which are the two major areas in the state's budget that are not legally protected from such cuts.

Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols is scheduled to meet with lawmakers to announce exactly what will be cut. The administration has been aware of the dismal revenue picture, and preparing a plan to balance the budget, Nichols said.

But the cuts will be hard for any state agency affected.

For example, the University of New Orleans already faced layoffs and other reductions when it was hit by a $9 million budget cut at the start of the fall 2012  school year.

UNO has faced $28 million in budget cuts since 2009, school officials said.

The bad news doesn't end there.

The Revenue Estimating Conference has also dropped state income expectations for 2013 by $200 million dollars. This will result in a $1.2 billion gap to close.

Economists said things could get even worse if Washington doesn't avoid the fiscal cliff.

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