BRADENTON, Fla. - Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has ordered budget reductions and a hiring freeze saying that both are necessary because appropriations could exceed available revenues for fiscal 2016.
Jindal, who is running for president, signed a July 10 executive order implementing $18.84 million in cuts less than two weeks into the fiscal year.
The move signals that state officials are being cautious as revenue estimates are monitored, and could be designed to avoid mid-year reductions, according to published reports.
The executive order also freezes non-essential spending and hiring.
However, the governor's action does not apply to the Department of Health and Hospital, Higher Education, or the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Health Care Services Division.
Jindal approved the $24 billion state budget on June 19 saying that it was the eighth year - his final year in office - that he had signed a balanced spending plan without raising taxes.
Jindal's executive order said the cuts are necessary "to ensure that the state of Louisiana will not suffer a budget deficit due to fiscal year 2015-2016 appropriations exceeding actual revenues and that the budget challenges in the ensuing fiscal year are met."
State Treasurer John Kennedy told the Times-Picayune that the governor's order could be an indication that there is little room for spending error in the current budget.
"I think there's very real possibility that we're going to have mid-year budget cuts," Kennedy told the paper, "I think the budget is very precariously balanced. In fact, I'm not sure it's balanced at all."