Special Session Off To Frustrating Start
The special session is off to a slow start as legislators struggle to find a fix to the $648 million budget shortfall that could devastate healthcare and education. $1.4 billion in sales taxes are set to expire, and Governor John Bel Edwards has called on legislators to renew a portion of that to fix state finances. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says that would save education and healthcare from deep cuts.
"That fix requires about $648 million, which is far less than the 1.4 billion dollars that rolls off the books on July 1," said Dardenne.
The governor vetoed a budget passed at the end of the regular session that hacked higher ed and state agency budgets, and no budget bill has been filed for the special session. Dardenne says the clock is running down on an opportunity to save the budget.
Houma Representative Republican Beryl Amedee says the governor’s decision to veto the budget has caused chaos in the capitol, and threatens to throw a wrench in the legislative process.