By MELINDA DESLATTE
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Finally a bit of good news for state lawmakers who have grappled with years of continuing budget cuts.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration says the state has an estimated $163 million left over from last year. The news was delivered Friday to the Legislature's joint budget committee.
Auditors still have to review the state's books before the surplus amount is certified and the dollars are available for spending.
In addition, the state's constitution limits the way surplus dollars can be spent. They can be poured into the rainy day fund or used for other one-time items, like bond payments, retirement debt, construction projects and coastal restoration work.
Lawmakers and the Jindal administration will decide how to use the dollars in the 2014 legislative session.