Friday, 27 April 2018 15:34

Tidmore: Louisiana Legislature chicken game at budget showdown

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chicken legislature 4Christopher Tidmore essentially calls it a game of legislative chicken. Which is what the House, the Senate and the Governor appear to be playing this Louisiana legislative session with the budget.  In a recent interview with the political columnist for the Louisiana Weekly and radio talk show host, Tidmore and with JMC Polling and Analytics, John Couvillon, the lawmakers must somehow fill a still-gaping hole in which House Republicans have basically taken taxes off the table after passing a budget protecting the popular TOPS program while shortchanging the health care and higher education vital services.

Below is the transcript of this part of the Facebook and Twitter Live discussion and video. This segment begins at the 0:05 mark on the Youtube video and ends at the 3:21 mark.

SABLUDOWSKY: So, Christopher tell us what's going on real quickly I know you got to go what's going on in the world of politics, legislative session and elections?

TIDMORE:  Well as I wrote it a column that is still standing for the Louisiana Weekly last week and I said called in a "curious game of chicken" going on over the budget and that hasn't changed much, basically the move by the House Appropriations Committee that went to the floor was to save TOPS at the expense of defunding pretty much most of our hospitals. The actual modified bill went down to eighty percent funding 80 percent of the TOPS bill and the Senate currently is looking at the budget they got from the house and saying we're not going to touch this, we're not going to try to vote on it, amend it we're pushing for a special session.  The problem is, in order to get along with that, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Taylor Barras, has got to actually agree. He's got to agree to move Sine Die, the the ending early of the legislative session before it's June 4th date and go in to it--so the governor could call a special session before the June 30th deadline, where all the budget ceases to exist in Louisiana.

Well Taylor Barras lately has been saying no I'm not doing that--it's --this is playing chicken, they're daring the Senate not to pass their bill.  The Senate for the most part is a little bit more fiscally liberal than the house it's more, get along, I mean the joke in the Senate is--any senator puts up a bill, it will be passed even if it's trying to verify that there is no God--because senators have that courtesy and they expect the house to clean up their messes.  They're not used to the house sending them what they conceive to be a mess and they don't want to they don't want to go through it.  

Right now we're still at a six hundred and seventy eight million dollar deficit.  They're--the one thing that is going on and that has gotten some play is a special fund the tops Commission to looking at tops recommended to get a dedicate fund for TOPS that would take the 233 million dollars of regular appropriation budget and 58 million dollars of dedicated funds from various--from the various constitutional interest in areas and put it into a dedicated fund.  Any money not used would be spent the next year.  The idea that's going through the house is to pass that and if the Senate enacts that and Senate passes it through it goes to the governor, then the house may be willing to go back and say okay we will push for a sales tax for just the TOPS program.   There seems to be at least some support for that but all of this will likely, the way it's heading will likely, be resolved in a special session because--short of a miracle right now I do not see the Senate agreeing or to any particular measure--they can't pass a tax measure--so I don't think they're going to, the only thing the Senate would agree to is probably defunding TOPS and doing hospitals which would put it directly in opposition to the House Republican leadership 

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