In a meeting on Wednesday, the state's Revenue Estimating Conference concluded that $155 million more is available for the fiscal year that starts July 1st. This comes as lawmakers in the Senate begin to take a look at the House-approved budget next week.

So, where is this additional money coming from? Economists say it's because more individual income tax collections than expected were brought in (about $65 million more), something they attribute to the state's job market. And, with new funding issues popping up, "one dealing with the vouchers and having to fund those in a different way; the other dealing with some of the healthcare-related costs due to the privatization of the hospitals," Council For A Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says the state can use every dollar. "This will give them some extra revenue to try and deal with those issues."

Economists say this is a sign that Louisiana's economy is doing well even though sales tax revenue has remained flat. But the good news was not limited to the upcoming fiscal year. The REC also recognized another $129 million that could be used to fill budget gaps for this fiscal year.

As the Senate Finance Committee will begin looking at the $24 billion spending plan next week,  Erwin says this additional money that's rolled in will hopefully shore up funding for the proposed budget "and hopefully be able to avoid mid-year budget cuts next year."