Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- The Louisiana State Capitol.

Louisiana received a rare bit of good news about the state budget on Wednesday, although not enough to prevent looming cuts that will be needed to shore up the state's finances in the coming months.

Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration has announced that due to lower-than-expected state debt payments, the deficit in the budget that ends June 30 is now $304 million — down from $313 million announced last week.

“It’s better than our earlier number, but it is still going to result in significant cuts. There’s no way around a reduction in services in areas that we have always deemed critical like higher education and health care,” Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne said in a statement. “That’s where the general fund dollars are so it’s difficult not to include them on the cut list.”

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