The clock is ticking on lawmakers to approve a budget before the special session ends on Monday. Governor John Bel Edwards says the spending plan approved by the Senate is a good starting point. He says unfortunately, the House did not vote on the budget last week, but he is optimistic HB1 can win passage this week.
“This is not a Republican versus Democrat thing, and it’s not really the House versus me. The Senate had 36 votes in favor of it. We know that there were 53 votes on the House floor, which is a majority,” Edwards said.
The two chambers argued all through the regular session over how much, if any, money to withhold from the budget in case of another midyear shortfall. Edwards says if that money is not appropriated from the onset, it cannot be used later to fill a budget gap or address unforeseen needs from potential hurricanes or floods.
“That is impossible, and besides we can meet a midyear shortfall with appropriating all the money just like we did last year,” Edwards said.
Edwards says failing to pass a budget wasn’t even the biggest disappointment of the fiscal session. He says lawmakers ensured another special session will be needed because there was no effort by the House to address the fiscal cliff in 2018.
“They didn’t have a single plan of their own. They didn’t move forward on the task force recommendations. They didn’t move forward on my plan, which was largely based off of that task force,” Edwards said.