BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The price tag has nearly doubled for Gov. Bobby Jindal's hiring of an outside consulting firm to recommend new ways to balance the state budget.

The contract for Alvarez & Marsal was worth $4.2 million when the New York-based company was hired in December. But the contract since has been bumped up to $7.4 million, according to the Legislative Fiscal Office.

In June, the consulting firm's report outlined proposals to save the state $2.7 billion over five years, either by cutting costs or increasing state revenue.

The fiscal office says the administration's contract costs increased because Alvarez & Marsal is helping state agencies to implement its recommendations.

"Saving $2.7 billion over the next five years requires a sustained, coordinated effort from agency leadership and staff. This contract addition allows A&M to provide project management services throughout the early implementation process to ensure savings goals are met," Jindal's Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols said in a statement Thursday.

Costs for the consultant could grow even further, because the contract doesn't end until December 2016 and new tasks could be added.

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