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Louisiana News & politics focus on Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Louisiana legislature

executive budgetOn Thursday, the John Bel Edwards administration released its executive budget.

Anticipated is a roughly $440 million dollar shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017.

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edwards presser mar9It looks like another busy spring for Louisiana legislators, lobbyists, and the Louisiana taxpayers.

After receiving more bad news today from the Revenue estimating Conference, Louisiana Governor said “it indicates the need for a special session”

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wagby Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry

The election is over, and it is time to get to work. Well, sort of.

Now that we have a new U.S. Senator, two new Congressmen and a few new local officials, some special elections will need to be held to replace those winners vacating other offices. As those elections happen, other elections will likely be needed to fill some of the expected vacancies. In short, while elections never truly end in Louisiana, the time is now to start sharpening those pencils and getting your calculator prepared for the 2017 legislative session (or sessions) where tax increases will once again take center stage.

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edwards presser mar9Another budget shortfall for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2016 and another likely heated battle over stabilizing the Louisiana budget.  Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards released the following statement:

Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards released the following statement on the budget shortfall for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2016 (FY 16). The Revenue Estimating Conference announced that the FY 16 shortfall was approximately $313 million. According to state law, any deficit for the previous fiscal year must be addressed prior to the end of the next fiscal year. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne will outline the specifics of the budget stabilization proposals at a Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget hearing on Friday, Nov. 18.

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edwards play money 1Increasingly clearly, a special state panel convened to study recommendations changing Louisiana’s tax code serves little more than an excuse to lock in overgrown government, specifically paying for Medicaid expansion, by making a temporary tax hike permanent.

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The Louisiana legislative session is history. It ended Thursday night, at midnight and now the question is-- what happened?

Well, we raised taxes, again although some say, there was no need to do so.  The Republicans have taken credit for successfully plugging the tax dike.  Some say Governor Johnn Bel Edwards was the loser.  Others claim, no, it is the House of Representatives conservative republicans.  And still, others say it is the taxpayers who actually lost.

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As the Louisiana Budget Project stated in its newsletter today, the "Budget down to the wire"

Budget down to the wire 

Senate President John Alario announced this morning that he's giving up on raising an additional $88 million for next year's budget by eliminating an outdated tax deduction that flows mainly to the wealthiest households. That means the main task for legislators on the final day of the special session is dividing up an estimated $258 million that's been raised to date. The Advocate's Elizabeth Crisp and Tyler Bridges have more:

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Even as he goes down to defeat, Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards could not help but extend his hand up and parallel to him, with palm facing him, lowering his pinky, and telling a number of Louisiana families to read between the lines.

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The Louisiana budget beat batters on.

The question is--who and what will take the biggest hit.  

According to The Advocate, the ball just left the Senate Finance Committee side of the court:

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In a John Bel Edwards press release, the Louisiana governor defended his budget proposal which he presented to the House committee today.  Also, one Koch-supported organization, Americans for Prosperity has slammed the governor for claiming that taxes would be needed. 

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