Dec. 13, 2016 12:33 PM

Louisiana's income forecasting panel has delayed until January a decision on how deeply to downgrade the state's tax collection estimates. The move stalls creation of a new financial gap that would force deep cuts and budget rebalancing within a month.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' chief budget adviser Jay Dardenne called Tuesday's delay irresponsible, postponing inevitable cuts and giving agencies less time to deal with them.

House Speaker Taylor Barras disagreed and pushed for postponement, saying it gives the state more time to collect tax data and lawmakers more time to comb through possible cuts.

But economists gave the Revenue Estimating Conference little reason to believe the state's financial picture will improve.

Any new shortfalls will come on top of a $313 million deficit from last year that hasn't been closed.