The Latest: Edwards plans another special session on taxes
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on Louisiana’s special legislative session (all times local):
Gov. John Bel Edwards says he’ll call Louisiana lawmakers back for a third special session this year.
He’s trying to get taxes passed to fill gaps in the budget year that starts July 1, after a special session cratered Monday without a tax deal.
The Democratic governor says he’s disappointed. And he placed blame squarely on House Republican leaders and what he described as a “Caucus of No in the House.”
In the session’s final minute, House GOP leaders helped block a second vote on a sales tax bill with a higher tax rate than they supported. It’s unclear if the bill could have reached the two-thirds vote needed to pass since it fell a handful of votes short earlier.
Edwards hasn’t set a start date for the next special session.
Another Louisiana special session on finances has crashed and burned.
Lawmakers ended their special session Monday at midnight without a tax deal, instead passing a budget that requires deep cuts across agencies to stay in balance without the additional revenue.
Health care services would be protected from reductions, but most other parts of state government such as college campuses and the TOPS tuition program would face slashing.
That means another special session seems likely, to try to add money to the spending plan ahead of the new financial year that starts July 1.
It was the second special session on taxes to end in stalemate this year. Monday ended with House GOP leaders running out the clock on a sales tax bill that raised more money than they wanted.
Louisiana lawmakers have entered the final hours of a special budget-balancing session still trying to broker a final deal on taxes and spending.
Senators passed a $29 billion budget proposal that relies on $540 million in additional taxes for the financial year that begins July 1. House lawmakers backed a lower spending plan that assumed $400 million in taxes.
Lawmakers were uncertain whether they would settle the disagreement by Monday at midnight, when the special session must end. An earlier special session in February ended in partisan stalemate.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, who called the session, had wanted lawmakers to replace $648 million in temporary taxes expiring July 1. But on Monday he told supporters that the Senate’s proposal is a “really decent resolution to the budget problems we have.”