During his monthly call-in radio show, Governor John Bel Edwards defends himself amid questions about whether he’s pushing higher taxes to solve the state’s budget problems. Edwards says while lawmakers raised $1.5 billion in taxes during last year’s sessions, they also cut $850 million from the state budget.

“We’ve taken a balanced approach to solving the budget problems. It involves revenue, it involves cuts, it involves savings, and I think that’s the most responsibly way to do it,” Edwards said.

Edwards adds more cuts are coming and possibly another special session to resolve a looming $300 million shortfall. He says while cutting the budget sounds like an easy fix, it’s painful for the state agencies and the people they serve.

“While no one wants to pay more in taxes ever, it’s also true that people don’t want to have TOPS programs that are unfunded or have the inability to deliver education,” Edwards said.

Edwards says there isn’t an overnight solution for the state’s budget problems. He says it will take comprehensive tax reform, more spending cuts, and yes, the possibility of raising more revenue. He says he’s committed to taking a balanced approach to resolve Louisiana’s financial issues.

“When you have a constitutional obligation to have a balanced budget and you have record budget deficits, the only thing you can do is raise revenue, cut spending, or a combination of both, and we’re pursuing both,” Edwards said.