The special session ground to a halt Wednesday after a vote on a tax reform bill that would have kept a quarter of the one penny sales tax intact, and remove some of the special sales tax exemptions for specific industries was postponed indefinitely. LaPolitics.com publisher Jeremy Alford says it was the bill with the most momentum, and its failure could tank the entire session.
“Right now the entire session itself is on shaky ground itself, because no one knows if the Ways and Means Committee is going to go back and vote on these measures again.”
The tax measure would have plugged 300 million dollars of the one-billion dollar looming budget gap.
Lawmakers were optimistic heading into the capitol Monday, but Alford says the political realities of an impending election and a bitter partisan divide didn’t take long to grind the session to a halt.
“There’s a lot of politics at play, because you have a governor who’s up for reelection next year. Is a compromise possible? You would hope so and you would think so, but I don’t think it’s such a simple matter.”
Alford says if the session burns out without a solution, the legislature’s failure to work together to find a deal could become campaign talking point for Edwards’ 2019 re-election campaign.
“The governor didn’t have to call this session but he did anyway. At the end of the day maybe that’s a political strategy for him, he’ll be able to tell voters, look I called them into a fifth special session and put some tax ideas on the table they were just unable to go along with it.”