So, why the kinda?
Obviously, $648 million is nothing to sneeze at. Under most Louisiana budgetary scenarios, that type of shortfall would be a stunning amount causing great concern and panic. However, over the past ten years under the Bobby Jindal administration, deficits needing to be filled have become commonplace. Over the past two years since Jindal’s departure and Governor Edwards’s tenure, the state has been forced to make up over three billion dollars in fiscal holes.
And, there is more kinda good news, depending upon how you view it. The $647 million might be within the range that the Republican-controlled Legislature would prefer to cut without any new taxes. The Speaker of the House, Taylor Barras has already discussed the possibility of all cuts to close the gap, therefore, no need for any further special sessions this spring. Yet, Governor John Bel Edwards has other ideas. He wants to shorten the current legislative session and call the legislature into a special session again, to raise revenues. Thus, you can expect a “someone heated debate” over cuts and taxes, special session or no special session. If the roughly $647 million does not get cut during the ongoing regular session, there would necessarily be a fiscal session to make up that differences. Revenues cannot be raised during the non-fiscal session years, which is occurring now.
Jan Moller, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Budget Project will join us today to discuss the session and budget. Jim Brown and I will interview him in a Facebook Live Discussion that will also be streamed via twitter.
Get your questions and comments ready.