After five days of stalled negotiations, lawmakers are optimistic that legislation will begin moving forward when legislators convene Sunday afternoon. Lake Charles Republican Representative Steven Dwight’s bill to extend a portion of the expiring one penny sales tax will be heard, and he says he’s optimistic about its chances.
“The plan is to go in Sunday afternoon at 4pm and see if I can’t get that bill out of committee and on to the house floor to hopefully have a full debate on the house floor Monday.”
Medicaid reform is also on deck, with a proposal from West Monroe Republican Representative Frank Hoffman to implement work requirements for beneficiaries. New Orleans Democratic Representative Walt Leger’s bill to reduce itemized tax deductions will also be heard. Dwight says it’s something for both parties.
“I think you’re going to see some reform measures come out that the republicans needed, and I think you’re going to see some excess itemized come out that’s something that the Democrats needed.
Baton Rouge Democratic Representative Ted James says after a week of haggling, the legislature is showing some signs of life.
“The first three days was largely everyone kind of in their own corner, so we made some significant strides.”
If the proposals advance out of committee, they would then be heard on the House floor, where non committee members would have a chance to take a swipe at the proposals. James says a plan to solve the fiscal cliff could still be a ways off, with Democrats balking at allowing the state to maintain special sales tax exemptions for certain industries.
“That also doesn’t really help us address the cliff because every special interest that removes itself digs a bigger hole for us.”