The Latest: Governor calls special session to start Feb. 19
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on a planned Louisiana special legislative session on taxes (all times local):
Gov. John Bel Edwards is summoning lawmakers to the Louisiana Capitol on Feb. 19, to consider passing a tax package aimed at replacing $1 billion in expiring taxes.
Without the replacement taxes, Edwards says Louisiana would have to make devastating cuts to health care services, public safety programs and the TOPS free college tuition program.
Richard Carbo, spokesman for the Democratic governor, said Edwards was issuing the official agenda for the two-and-a-half-week special session on Friday. The session will begin Feb. 19 at 4 p.m. and must end by March 7.
Edwards called the special session even though it’s unclear if he’ll have enough votes from House Republicans to pass taxes.
Louisiana lawmakers should know soon if they are returning to the state Capitol after the Mardi Gras holiday to debate replacing $1 billion in expiring taxes, to avoid deep budget cuts.
Gov. John Bel Edwards set Friday as the deadline in negotiations with lawmakers over whether Louisiana will have a special session later this month on taxes.
The Democratic governor said he needs to call the session by Friday so lawmakers have enough time to debate taxes before the regular session begins in mid-March, when next year’s budget is crafted.
The target for starting the special session is Feb. 19.
Edwards is meeting Friday with Senate President John Alario and House Speaker Taylor Barras to discuss tax ideas. He’s expected to announce his special session decision after that meeting.