The higher ed bubble. Coming soon to a state near you. reports.

Louisiana is already cutting its state budget and, again, higher education takes the hit

Louisiana lawmakers — a mere six weeks into the current state budget cycle — are already being forced to cut $4.6 million from higher education and other state services.

At first blush, the figure seems trivial given the state’s $25 billion budget, yet what’s troubling is that it’s likely a sign of additional financial cuts to come. Dropping oil prices, coupled with concerns new taxes and fees bills might not actually generate the initially advertised dollars, mean the state’s budget projections are unusually shaky this year.

“This one is going to be a little more touch-and-go than normal this fiscal year,” Greg Albrecht, the Legislature’s chief economist, said Friday (Aug. 14) at a state financial meeting.

The bulk of the $4.6 million in cuts falls on higher education, despite legislators naming college and university funding as their top priority during the session. Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration said the Louisiana Board of Regents learned of the budget reductions on Friday.

“We haven’t even started the semester yet and we’ve already taken a budget cut,” said Joseph Rallo, Louisiana’s higher education commissioner. “Once again, higher education — because it’s not protected — is absorbing the lion’s share of the cuts.”