BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana's lawmakers didn't need to wait for Christmas to get the lump of coal in their stockings. They already knew about the financial headaches they'll have to tackle in 2017.

Louisiana's 15th midyear budget gap in nine years is expected to be formally recognized in January, when the state's income forecasting panel puts a dollar figure on a shortfall from the current budget year that began July 1.

The shortfall is expected to reach around $300 million.

As always, health care services and public colleges are most at risk to cuts because they have the largest unprotected pools of state financing.

Dardenne says the Edwards administration will propose to tap into Louisiana's "rainy day" fund for $119 million to offset part of whatever shortfall emerges.


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