Governor Edwards spoke today at UL Lafayette breaking special session tradition of opening the proceedings by talking in the House chamber. The Governor is calling on the legislature to replace expiring sales taxes to avoid 638 million dollars in budget cuts. University of Lafayette Political Science Professor Pearson Cross says Edwards is hoping to draw attention to the importance to higher ed.
“He is pointing attention to some of the institutions that need funding and certainly the UL systems are one of the institutions that are on the chopping block.”
This will be the 9th special session since governor Edwards took office in 2016 when temporary sales taxes that are set to expire in July were raised to address the last fiscal cliff. Cross says this time might be different, as GOP legislators appear more willing to talk revenue.
“You’re hearing from some members, even among the Republican caucus, that the time is right to raise some revenue. I think the revenue may not be everything that the governor wants.”
Cross says the Governor will most likely have to settle for a compromise built around renewing half of the one penny sales tax that is set to expire. But he did warn that whatever compromise is reached will most likely involve kicking the can down the street to whoever wins the governor’s mansion next year.
“We are not going to see a long-term fix to the state’s budget problem coming out of the special session, that will probably remain for the next governor sometime in 2020.”