Legislative leaders and the Jindal administration are quietly shifting about $70 million in state construction spending slated for next year in an attempt to fix a serious problem caused by the state’s failure to use the money on schedule.

State legislators said they hope the solution — which calls for shifting money meant for an old set of projects to newer ones instead — will head off a potential problem with the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS requires that money raised from the sale of tax-exempt bonds be spent within a certain period of time, tax attorneys said.

How to spend that bond money in the upcoming year is now in the hands of state lawmakers, who have been doing their best not to draw attention to the problem. The plan calls for taking $70 million that was supposed to be used for dozens of older projects and spending it on $70 million of new or existing projects in the next year. The old projects would be next in line for funding.

This story was originally published in The Lens, an independent, nonprofit newsroom serving New Orleans. Continue reading full story here.