Recently, our newly elected governor John Bel Edwards called for a special session of the Louisiana Legislature. This special legislative session will focus specifically on the state’s budget shortfall of $750 million.
The special legislative session is already in progress, lasting from Feb. 14, 2016 until no later than March 9. This gives legislators just three and a half weeks to decide how to ameliorate statewide budget concerns.
The session takes place in Baton Rouge, where the Louisiana State Legislature convenes.
Governor Edwards has offered 36 items to choose from in order to fill the budget gap. The items include cutting state contracts, using non-coastal BP settlement dollars from the Deepwater Horizon spill, raising taxes on alcohol, and resurrecting a tax on rental cars.
Although the regular legislative session starts just days after the special session on March 14, Governor Edwards felt that an additional, special session dedicated solely to the budget was important. During regular legislative sessions, certain fiscal or tax matters are not part of the agenda. This additional session makes sure that this important issue of the state budget will get the special attention it deserves.
Easing the budget gap will require hard work on behalf of our elected officials statewide. As Governor Edwards said in a press release, “Leadership demands that we all work together … to stabilize this budget structurally, not only for this year, but for the long term.” Edwards continues to specify that “now is the time for legislators to join with me to resolve these problems and to begin filing bills that contain specific and workable solutions for the people of Louisiana, who deserve our very best right now.”