The Legislature's chief economist says Louisiana closed the last fiscal year with a surplus of $180 million.
Greg Albrecht gave the news to the state income forecasting panel, the Revenue Estimating Conference, on Thursday.
Albrecht says the better-than-expected financial performance for the budget year that ended June 30 was largely tied to corporate tax collections, which were significantly higher than forecast.
Opinions differ on how the money can be spent. Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater, the governor's chief budget adviser, wants to use the money to fill a Medicaid shortfall.
But House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Fannin says law requires the first draw on leftover cash must be used to repay withdrawals from the state's "rainy day" fund.