Governor John Bel Edwards' Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne is speculating what almost all of us have been speculating. That speculation is that our state will end the last fiscal year at a deficit.

It's not like Mr. Dardenne was out to shock the world with this news. He's just got to be the one to make it official. As soon as the bookkeeping is complete it's a pretty safe bet that a lot of red ink will be used to document this past fiscal year.

Just exactly how big that deficit will be is the only real mystery in this story. Dardenne says that waiting for the final numbers is the only way to get the exact figure but some estimations have been made and they aren't pretty.

Jim Richardson, a couple of months ago, suggested that there may be up to a $200 million shortfall in the previous fiscal year based upon numbers he was seeing.

Dardenne offered that observation to the Louisiana Radio Network. The Jim Richardson to which he was referring is a member of the state's Revenue Estimating Conference.

What does it all mean for Louisiana?

The broad answer is that when lawmakers return to Baton Rouge for the next legislative session that the budget will again be the elephant in the room.  Dardenne suggested that Louisiana state agencies had better spend their money wisely over the next few months because of that anticipated budget shortfall.

We’re hoping that people are listening and not spending money too quickly in recognition of the fact that, not only may we have a problem in the current fiscal year, we hope we don’t, but we will have to deal with this problem from ’16

Dardenne's office as well as the office of the Governor have reminded state agency managers that they need to fine tune their spending habits to avoid further budget issues in the coming fiscal year.