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Wednesday, 08 February 2017 14:43
Edwards, Legislature ready for Louisiana special session budget games again
 
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lou gehrig burnettby Lou Gehrig Burnett, Publisher of Fax-Net

Let the games begin

    Here we go again.  Another special session to address the $304 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.
    It will convene on Monday, February 13 at 6:30 p;m. and conclude by midnight on Wednesday, February 22 – a nine-day session.
    Not everyone is happy with the call.  Some Republican legislators feel the cuts could have been made by the governor without the need for a special session.


    Gov. Edwards said, “A special session of the Legislature is necessary to spread cuts across government and minimize cuts to the critical state services the people of Louisiana consider to be important.  As I have said, behind every number  that we cut are real Louisianans whose lies will be impacted.”
    The governor went on to say, “We are taking a deliberative, responsible approach to cutting spending and balancing our cuts with the use of $119 million from the Rainy Day Fund.  The fund was established for this very purpose, and given how deep these cuts will be without it, I am confident the Legislature will support this effort until we can make the necessary reforms to our state’s budgeting practices.”
    On January 27, Edwards testified before the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget to outline his plan to address the shortfall without the need to raise additional taxes or fees.
    He proposed using the Rainy Day Fund and making strategic spending cuts across a broad spectrum of state government, including, but not limited to, the Louisiana Department of Health, the Legislature, the Judiciary, and statewide elected officials.
    Edwards wants to minimize or avoid cuts to higher education, partner hospitals, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Family Services.  He was expected to reveal specific cuts  on Monday, February 6
    “If we can work together during this time, I am confident we can adjourn this special session ahead of the deadline.  After years of budget shortfalls, and mismanagement from the previous administration, there are no easy decisions anymore.  The people of Louisiana are expecting us to put politics aside and solve this problem, and I am committed to being a partner with the Legislature to make this happen,” the governor said.
    In April, the Legislature will convene in a regular session to make bold reforms to the state’s broken tax code.
    During that session, the Legislature will consider several reform measures recommended by a bipartisan task force that will give businesses and families predictability and stability in the tax code, while bringing in sufficient revenue to fund state government.
 

 

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