Reports Say TOPS Could Be On The Chopping Block
A published report says Governor John Bel Edwards will present a budget to lawmakers on Friday that includes a 100 percent cut to TOPS. The budget is a representation of what would happen if the GOP led House and Edwards do not find a solution to the loss of one billion dollars in revenue on July 1st.
“We’ve heard the governor offer this type of doom and gloom type of forecast for TOPS before, and it certainly is a carrot and stick approach to politics and policy,” says LAPolitics Publisher Jeremy Alford.
The governor is constitutionally required to propose a balanced budget, and the spending plan presented on Friday would reflect what would happen if the state does not replace the money generated by an expiring one-cent sales tax. Alford says the governor’s office is also preparing a budget that would show how the state would spend its money, if the billion dollar shortfall is resolved.“The governor is also going to have secondary budget and this is a budget that will look like what the administration wants the budget to look like. When the budget with the deep cuts comes out the first thing the governor is going to say is this isn’t the budget that he wanted.”
Edwards set a January 19th deadline for negotiations for a deal in principle on fixing the fiscal cliff. The legislature has a regular session scheduled for March, but Alford says the fiscal cliff can only be addressed in a special session that the governor would like to call in February.
“Lawmakers can only take up non tax issues in a regular session, so if he doesn’t call a special session before the regular session he certainly will call one after.”
Alford says negotiations have stalled, and he doesn’t expect a February special session to address the cliff at this point.