House Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds says he and fellow Democrats came away frustrated after meeting with the GOP on how to prevent falling off a fiscal cliff when $1 Billion in revenue comes off the books June 30th. Reynolds says the Republicans haven’t presented a plan to help balance next fiscal year’s budget.
"Democrats only have 41 votes so we can't pass anything. But to get to the 70, it's gonna take a bipartisan effort and that's what we need," said Reynolds.Reynolds says the Democratic caucus is looking at several different proposals to address long term budget deficits, but they are not sure what GOP legislators will support.
"We're willing to negotiate if they're willing to put something out there that we can at least read. We're not opposed to budget reform, a spending cap. Just put it out there so we can at least take this extra step because we're running out of time."
Republican House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says Democrats are going about this all wrong and is disappointed in the way Edwards and his party are discussing ways to tackle the budget.
"To say we're going to try to raise people's taxes behind closed doors, if that's Senator Reynolds idea of doing the people's work, I think we have a vast disagreement of what that means and obviosly the Governor feels the same way."
Governor Edwards plans on calling a special session in February to pass tax reform legislation in response to a looming one-billion dollar budget deficit.
There is a legislative budget meeting on January 19th and House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry says he'd like to hear specifics from the governor on what he proposes.
"I think it will be an interesting meeting on the 19th. I hope he actually shows up and is willing to discuss what his plan is, the specifics of it. Actually have the bills in hand and have something members can read."