Edwards administration and republican lawmakers at odds over the budget
Posted on 6/6/2018 12:26:00 PM.

The Edwards administration is sounding the alarm about the cuts that would need to be enforced, if the House does not pass a sales tax bill that generates 500 million dollars in revenue. Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the budget that passed the legislature calls for massive cuts to popular state programs, without the additional funding.

“So we’re talking about the department of corrections, and part of children family services, juvenile justice, cops, higher ed., sheriff’s housing.”

As of now TOPS is facing a 30-percent cut, higher ed would receive a 96-million dollar cut. The governor supports a Senate approved plan that failed to  in the House that would renew half of the expiring penny sales tax.

With TOPS in particular at risk of a substantial cut, Dardenne says it’s time for those who want to protect the scholarship program to get active.

“Identify those members of the house of representatives who refuse to vote for the compromise and call them, write them, email them, come see them and tell them this is unacceptable because TOPS is at risk.”

A block of anti-tax House Republicans rejected two tax plans, one that would raise half a penny and fully fund the government, and another that renews a third of a penny and would require 126 million in additional budget cuts.

Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh’s polarizing decision to purposely “run the clock out” by filibustering at the end of the night before a final tax vote all but guaranteed the governor will call for another special session. He says he shut down the session because the state has the cash to fund priorities, and doesn’t need to renew any of the 1.4 billion in expiring taxes that drop off June 30th.

“Nothing is going to close. This is either the biggest or the second biggest budget in Louisiana history. We have enough money.”

Seabuagh, whose being hailed by fiscal conservatives for putting the breaks on a session ending tax vote, says the Governor’s decision to expand Medicaid in the state is strangling the budget, and is directly responsible for the cuts that could be made to higher education and TOPS.

“The governor absolutely refuses to take even 1% off of LDH because that’s where the Medicaid expansion is. They’re putting people who shouldn’t be on Medicaid, and they’re putting them on Medicaid.”

The governor has not announced the start date for a third special session, but it will occur before the end of the month, because the new budget year begins July 1st.

John Bel Edwards, Alan Seabuagh, Jay Dardenne, Special Session

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