Governor John Bel Edwards is demanding that the House of Representatives approves more revenue generating bills including a measure that would increase the state’s tax on alcohol for the first time since 1948. Edwards says time is running out on this special session that was called to address the state’s fiscal crisis.
“Those people who think that we can solve this problem some other time, they are gravely mistaken, and the implications of that are serious and somewhat catastrophic,” Edwards said.
Edwards says without new revenues hospitals, universities and other necessary state services may have to close their doors. He says it’s time for the legislature to act.
“You need to lead, follow or get out of the way, and we have some legislators who are choosing to do none of the three,” Edwards said.
The House and Senate have agreed to some revenue increases and budget cuts that closes the deficit for this fiscal year from 940-million dollars to about 147-million. But the governor says there’s more work to be done in the final days of the special session.
“So if the legislators think they’ve done their job because they’ve gotten somewhere close to the $940 million hole this year, they are sadly mistaken, and we are considerably short of even that number,” Edwards said.