The Latest: Another special session on taxes in the works
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on Louisiana’s special legislative session (all times local):
Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana legislative leaders are working on a plan to end the upcoming regular session early so they can have another tax debate.
That was the talk Monday as the special session flamed out with no deal to fill a looming budget gap on July 1.
Lawmakers can’t consider taxes in the upcoming regular session that begins next week. Few expect the Legislature to pass a budget with nearly $700 million in state financing cuts that are estimated to be needed.
The governor, Senate President John Alario and House Speaker Taylor Barras say they expect a second special session to try to broker a tax deal. They’ve agreed to try to wrap up the regular session before its June 4 deadline, so they can convene that second special session.
Gov. John Bel Edwards says the next several months will be marked by budget uncertainty that could have been avoided if lawmakers had agreed to a tax compromise.
The Democratic governor spoke Monday after a special session he called to replace expiring temporary taxes failed to produce any revenue to apply to the budget gap looming on July 1.
The special session cratered in the House, where factions of lawmakers disagreed over tax types and amounts. Edwards blamed the failure on a lack of leadership from Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras.
Lawmakers will head into a regular legislative session next week.
Edwards doesn’t believe lawmakers will agree to pass a budget that cuts nearly $700 million in state financing. He expects to call a second special session in a few months to again try to negotiate on taxes.
The Louisiana House has given up on reaching a tax deal to help close a looming budget gap, and the Legislature has ended the session two days early.
After failing to pass major tax bills in recent days, factions in the House couldn’t reach agreement on which tax types to use to offset the shortfall that hits July 1.
With time disappearing before the Wednesday deadline, the House threw up its hands and lawmakers wrapped up the session Monday, with no revenue passed.
Part of the $994 million shortfall will be offset with $302 million estimated from increased state income-tax collections caused by federal tax changes, leaving a gap of $692 million.
Lawmakers crafting next year’s budget will have to propose cuts.
As Louisiana’s special session appears to slowly crash and burn, finger-pointing has replaced efforts to reach a compromise on taxes to help close the state’s ever-nearing budget shortfall.
The session, called by Gov. John Bel Edwards, could end as early as Monday, with no bills passed so far. It must end by Wednesday, leaving the narrowest of windows for Louisiana House lawmakers to break through the gridlock of the last two weeks.
Failure to broker a deal after repeated attempts, however, seems to have hardened positions and amplified mistrust.
If the Democratic governor and House factions can’t bridge the divide, lawmakers will head into their regular session next week having to balance the budget for the year starting July 1 with nearly $700 million less than they had this year.