Legislation that authorizes the use of the rainy day fund to address a 304-million dollar midyear budget deficit is heading to the Senate floor. Senate President John Alario says dipping into the state's savings account will stave off cuts to colleges, public schools and child services programs.
"If we don't get into using some of the Rainy Day Fund, some of those programs much needed by the people in this state, much used and have much concerned about can very well get hurt," Alario said.
Much of the activity at the State Capitol on Tuesday took place behind closed doors, as lawmakers negotiated with the governor over how much to use from the rainy day fund and how much to cut from the budget. Alario says there's a block of republican lawmakers who want to to reduce state spending.
"They would like to use at this point less amount of the rainy day fund, nobody has any objection, but they gotta show us what those cuts are that will make up the difference," Alario said.
Republican House Appropriations Chair Cameron Henry told the Associated Press the negotiating sessions are not exactly moving smoothly. Legislative leaders and the governor are expected to meet again Wednesday. Political analyst Bernie Pinsonat says neither side wants to give in.
"Edwards, of course being a Democrat, doesn't want to cut state government, because it mainly falls on his voters, Republicans say we gotta cut now, so the negotiations are going to go on," Pinsonat.
Henry plans on moving a couple of budget cutting pieces of legislation on Wednesday afternoon to the House floor. The special session must end by midnight on February 22nd.