Governor Edwards Calls For A Special Session To Fix Budget Deficit
Governor John Bel Edwards announces he will call a special session so legislators can make what he calls "painful" cuts to address a 304-million dollar shortfall. Edwards says the 11-day special session would start February 13th.
"When we are looking at cuts of this magnitude, it would be irresponsible not to open up the entire budget to scrutiny and negligent to exclude the public from decisions that will affect their services," Edwards said.
Edwards says he will not ask legislators to raise taxes during the special session, but he will recommend using 119-million dollars in money from the state's rainy day fund in an effort to soften the cuts.
"Any plan that does make use of the rainy day fund, would simply be catastrophic and unacceptable to the people of Louisiana.
Edwards says he'll present a budget slashing plan to the legislature by February sixth. The governor says he will NOT recommend cuts to K-through-12 education, prisons and social services.
He says during the special session he'd like input from the legislature and the public about how the state should spend its money.
"There isn't an easy cut anymore, they all have consequences and given the magnitude of what we are about to do, I want to ensure members of the public that their input will be considered," Edwards said.
The governor made his comments to the joint legislative budget committee. Edwards stayed for over an hour to hear questions and suggestions from legislators.