Finally, after three special sessions and a regular one, it's time to relax, do the things that hard-working legislators (and governors) long to do after a long grueling hard-fought battle over the budget--pick up the pieces of one's life and, if at all possible, spend quality time with family, check out those hires burning at the office and hopefully take a moment of leisure.
The fiscal cliff, that seemingly insurmountable object in front of every legislative session since Bobby Jindal took his shot at taming the budget, is fixed. Yes, fixed. At least, on paper and hopefully, in reality, until perhaps, the next mid-decade.
The Louisiana legislators and governor, who have spent almost every day in session since mid-February of this year, have settled upon a budget deal that reduces the sales tax from five cents to 4.45 cents. Today, The Advocate reporter Tyler Bridges, who has been there with the legislators as each tick has tocked on the capitol clock, took a few moments to discuss with me--the session and the budget agreement. The interview occured via Facebook and Twitter Live.
Below is the video transcript of the relevant portions of the interview with Bridges, who will also soon post a "behind the budget deal scene" article for The Advocate.
Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards delivered this statement to the legislature as the 3rd fiscal session of the year commenced to fix the budget:
As prepared for delivery:
The Louisiana governor, John Bel Edwards, has issued his third special session call of 2018 to fix the state budget. The two prior sessions, one ending earlier this week, failed. Here is the notification issued from his office:
We all know that the Louisiana legislature and Governor John Bel Edwards have failed in trying to solve the chronic mystery of the Louisiana fiscal cliff.
During a Facebook-Twitter Live interview, this week, I discussed this failure with the radio talk show host and Political Editor for the African American newspaper, The Louisiana Weekly, Christopher Tidmore.
In response to the Republican-controlled House Appropriations committee's decision to fully fund TOPS and not providing funding to other areas of state government, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards released the following statement on the House Appropriations Committee’s decision "to make drastic cuts to higher education, health care, including partner hospitals and medical schools, and public safety"
Louisiana has good news, kinda.
The state’s Revenue Estimating Conference met today and recognized $346 million in revenues, most primarily due to the Republican-Trump tax cut leaving a difference in the budget shortfall of $647M which is obviously much better than the $997 million hole we were looking at prior to the regular session. That’s the good news.
Has the Louisiana legislature become a battle-ground of anger and acrimony, based, in part upon political philosophy and to an extent, whether willing to admit it, or not, race? Essentially, this was the first question asked in Bayoubuzz’s interview with The Advocate’s Reporter, Elizabeth Crisp, who covers the Louisiana legislature.
Today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, after completing a failed fiscal session ending last week, embarked upon the regular session today, held annually during the Spring. The fiscal session was called as a special legislative session so revenues could be raised. These revenues or taxes cannot be raised during a regular session. Edwards wants the session to end early so it can engage in another fiscal session at the end of the regular-scheduled spring session to handle the close to one billion dollars in budget shortages.
Below is the transcript of today's speech to the Louisiana legislative session. The speech was streamed live by Bayoubuzz.com with related tweets off to the side.
One million dollars down the drain to pay for a special session of the Louisiana legislature. And all for naught. The Governor is hollering that the financial sky is falling and the state is in dire fiscal straights. Legislators protest that their hands are tied by too many constitutional dedications. And since there is little appetite for trimming the budget, the legislature now begins its regular gathering at the state capitol with a shortfall of over one billion dollars.
S&P released a statement following the Louisiana legislative fiscal session debacle which ended without a solution to the state's serious budget problem. Of note, S&P stated Louisiana "inched closer" to its "manufactured" fiscal cliff.