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Jun 11, 2010 3:50 PM

House speaker refuses to recognize deficit

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) The speaker of the state House is refusing to cut the state's income projections, despite economists' expectations the state will end the year with a budget defict.

The refusal by House Speaker Jim Tucker to allow the Revenue Estimating Conference to revise its estimates Friday upended the already contentious budget debate between the House and Senate.

Ten days remain in the legislative session.

Economists told the forecasting panel they overestimated state revenue by as much as $260 million. But when pressed by Tucker, they acknowledged they weren't comfortable with the numbers saying they could be even worse.

Tucker, a member of the conference, says it's premature to revise estimates and it's better to wait until the fall to come up with a plan for dealing with a new deficit.

The four-member revenue estimating panel needs a unanimous vote to revise estimates.

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