Once again, a special session has ended in disagreement and disappointment. Legislators could not agree on the exact funding mechanism to bridge the $650 million budget deficit. The crisis is a result of the 1% sales tax increase that was enacted in 2016 but will expire at the end of the month.
The Louisiana fiscal session, part two, called to fix the budget that is one more time out of whack, is now history. What’s a state to do? The economy is flat. The people are poor and poorly educated with some of the worst health conditions in the country. The education system is third rate, compared to some of the leading states in the nation. Survey after survey places Louisiana in the pits, if not, competing for that unlofty spot. What’s a state, specifically, Louisiana to do to provide for the necessary needs of its citizens?
This essentially is the debate between conservative and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, the legislature and the Governor, John Bel Edwards.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has announced changes in the LSU Board of Supervisors.
Today, Edwards announced the following appointments: Jack A. “Jay” Blossman, B. Wayne Brown; Robert S. Dampf; Chester Lee Mallett; Rémy Voisin Starns and Mary Leach Werner. They will each serve a six year term set to expire on June 1, 2024.
It is difficult to fathom how Louisiana legislature and our Governor John Bel Edwards have gotten us in the situation where fiscal matters dealing with the budget are more chaotic now than they were after the traumas and horrors of Hurricane Katrina. But they are.
Last night, the House Republicans ran out the clock, preventing any further opportunities to emerge for a late, last-minute deal. They were adamant that they were not going to budge on the revenues increase. Nor were the Governor and others willing to toe the line on spending and on raising taxes.
Only four full days, excluding today, left in the second extraordinary fiscal session of the Louisiana legislature called to fix the fiscal cliff, 2018.
Will the Louisiana legislature be able to come to an agreement prior to Monday midnight? Will a legislative agreement include more cuts to higher education, the hospitals, TOPS, the prison system and government infrastructure? If so, will the governor John Bel Edwards sign the budget into law?
What’s a governor to do? What’s a Louisiana governor to do?
Which was somewhat the issue discussed yesterday. That’s when long-time State elected official and political observer Jim Brown and equally long-time political writer Tom Aswell (publisher of LouisianaVoice) and I got together online to talk about the current budget mess up in Baton Rouge. That mess might also be known as the “second special Louisiana Legislative fiscal session of 2018”. If the mess is not cleaned sufficiently over the next seven days, there is talk about a third crack at getting it right.
The Governor in question, of course is Democrat John Bel Edwards. He has started his third year in office and is trying to get his agenda and budget plans through the Republican-dominated legislature. His approach is a blend of taxes and spending cuts.
The Louisiana legislature is back in session for the fiscal budget fix. The assumption and perhaps conventional wisdom is that the legislature will somehow compromise on the $650 to $670 million dollar shortfall compared to last year’s budget for government services. But, that is no certainty.
Earlier this year, when there was roughly a billion dollar shortage, the legislature failed to pass a budget and while the current projected budget is now smaller, it would still take compromising on the part of all the lawmakers and the Governor, John Bel Edwrds.
Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Executive Vice President Jim Smith of DXC Technology (NYSE: DXC) joined guests and employees in dedicating the company’s New Orleans Digital Transformation Center at the newly named DXC Technology Building on 1615 Poydras Street. In November, DXC Technology announced it will create 2,000 new direct jobs in New Orleans over the next five years in what will become Louisiana’s largest technology-focused economic development project to date.