The revenue shortfall the state is facing has declined from 994-million-dollars to 648-million-dollars, as a result of the state collecting more income taxes due to the federal tax overhaul.

House Speaker Taylor Barras says the extra money would likely go for higher education and the TOPS program.

 “A high priority for lots of folks is certainly higher education… including TOPS, so I imagine that discussion will continue.  What balance… what’s remaining in TOPS averages in the 230 to 250 million dollar range.”

Rep. Taylor Barras,

But based on this new revenue projection, the state would still have to make 648-million dollars in cuts, unless another special session is called to address the shortfall. Barras says he’s not committed to a special session yet, he wants to see what the budget looks like when it’s approved by the House next week.

“The way it leaves the House with 650 million (in cuts), I would stress will likely not be the final budget we vote on at the end of the day. If it is, we may indeed have 53 votes to pass it.”

Barras says the Appropriations Committee is set to vote on a budget that will contain 648-million dollars in cuts on Monday and then the full House could vote on the spending plan next Thursday.

“I think we support a budget to get it out to the Senate… not the final budget that I would really want to vote on, at this point, but that will be what leaves here next Thursday.”

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