Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says new revenues, possibly from an additional one-cent increase to the state sales tax, are needed to stave off big cuts to public colleges and health care services. Dardenne says they are being honest with the public when they say, just cutting the budget will not solve this fiscal year’s 750-million dollar shortfall.
“And that’s what you’re going to hear from this administration. You’re going to get accurate numbers, you’re going to get the truth as hard as it is for a governor recently elected to stand up and say we’ve got to raise some revenue.”
Dardenne says they are proposing to use some one-time money, rainy day funds and there are some proposed budget cuts to help with the budget crisis for this fiscal year. But he says additional revenue is also needed to avoid big cuts.
“Literally higher education saying in some cases declare financial exigency, in other cases cancel summer school. Make significant reductions in a very short window of time to find that money.”
Governor John Bel Edwards will call a three-week long special session later this month and at that time, he’ll ask lawmakers to raise taxes. It’s unclear if the republican-controlled legislature is willing to go along with the governor’s revenue raising plans. Dardenne says they’ve been communicating with GOP legislators.
“There is certainly not a sense there that the Republicans have gathered together for the purpose of preventing anything from happening.”