Income forecasting panel boosts its estimates

Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's income forecast has gotten brighter, giving lawmakers more money to spend in the budget.

The Revenue Estimating Conference adjusted next year's forecast by $155 million - $65 million more than what was assumed in the House-passed version of the 2013-14 budget.

Economists say the state's individual income tax collections are higher than expected, the sign of a strong labor market.

The four-member income forecasting panel also bumped up projections for this year by $129 million, which could help fill gaps in the current year's budget or be used for other items.

The changes, made Wednesday, will give the Senate Finance Committee more wiggle room in crafting the Senate's version of spending plans for this year and next year. The committee starts combing through the House-approved budget later this week.

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