Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered $165.5 million of cuts from the state's $25 billion budget for fiscal 2013 last week after the Revenue Estimating Conference cut its outlook for general fund revenues this year by $129 million and by $207 million for fiscal 2014.
Jindal has the constitutional authority to cut spending by 3%. Additional cuts require approval by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget.

The mandated cuts issued on Dec. 14 protect higher education and health care, Jindal said.

"Departments were asked to identify targeted cost-saving measures to cut spending while protecting critical services," he said.

A hiring freeze implemented in the summer has saved almost $20 million, Jindal said.

The revised outlook predicts $173 million less this year from the sales tax than expected in the April official forecast, and $49 million less from the individual income tax.

The estimate adopted by the revenue panel on Dec. 13 shows a $1.2 billion shortfall in fiscal 2014 between estimated collections and expected spending that must be resolved during budget development. The 2013 Legislature will convene for a fiscal session April 8. Jindal said he would veto any bills that raise revenues without being offset by spending cuts.

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