- Associated Press - Friday, January 13, 2017

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Latest on Louisiana’s budget deficit (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Louisiana’s special budget-rebalancing legislative session is expected to fall between Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras in February.

Gov. John Bel Edwards intends to call the special session to make cuts and consider use of Louisiana’s “rainy day” fund to close an estimated $313 million deficit in the state’s $27 billion operating budget.

Mid-February is the target period being discussed for lawmakers to return to Baton Rouge.

An income forecasting panel downgraded Louisiana tax collection estimates Friday, to account for unemployment that is dragging income, business and sales taxes below expectations. Edwards said the action “clearly indicates the need for a special session.”

Without a session, lawmakers and the governor are limited in how they can divvy cuts. Edwards said the slashing would fall too heavily on colleges and health services.

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12:30 p.m.

Louisiana’s midyear deficit has been pegged at $313 million, a figure that Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration says will trigger the governor to call a special legislative session to rebalance the budget.

An income forecasting panel downgraded Louisiana tax collection estimates Friday, to account for unemployment that is dragging income, business and sales taxes below expectations.

Edwards’ chief budget adviser Jay Dardenne says the governor will call lawmakers into a special session - expected next month - to make cuts and consider using Louisiana’s “rainy day” fund to close the gap.

Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras showed resistance to the idea, suggesting the budget could be rebalanced without the full Legislature. Dardenne says constitutional limits would make cuts fall too heavily on colleges and health services without a special session.

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