Governor John Bel Edwards has called his second special session, hoping lawmakers will agree to reduce tax breaks and hike some income taxes to balance the Louisiana budget.
The special session began 30 minutes after the regular session ended Monday, June 6, and must end by midnight on June 23. That’s just one week before the July 1 start of the new financial year.
Late Sunday night, lawmakers approved a budget deal but House and Senate leaders shared concerns about the cuts needed as the state faces an estimated $600 million shortfall in the coming year.
This special session will give lawmakers one more chance to try to bridge that gap. Gov. John Bel Edwards presented lawmakers with a “menu” of revenue-raising options that will be vetted in the coming days.
“Our state continues to face a serious budget deficit that threatens our ability to adequately fund state services that we all consider to be priorities,” Edwards said. “This is not the budget that I, and a vast majority of the legislature, want to see implemented and is further evidence that we need to work together in the next special session to stabilize our budget and fund critical programs, such as TOPS, K-12 education, higher education, and health care services.”
He continued: “While I appreciate the legislature crafting a budget, we need to develop a long-term plan that is worthy of the people of Louisiana. We have critical work ahead of us over the next two weeks, and I am confident we will make the tough choices necessary to put Louisiana on a path to long-term prosperity.”