Concerns are being raised that at the current pace, another special session will be needed after June 4th to approve a budget that includes potentially hundreds of millions in tax revenue that is being considered to plug the 648-million dollar budget gap. House Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry pushed to override the governor’s veto of the budget passed in the regular session.
“If the argument is that we need a budget to move, we need some type of document and this speeds all of that up. You have a budget in place right now.”
But that motion failed to get a two-thirds vote. Many in the Democratic Caucus believe the budget process should start all over again, to ensure proper funding for healthcare, TOPS, and higher ed. New Roads Representative Democrat Major Thibaut says a spending plan should not be rushed.
“I’m not ready to get home, I’m ready to do the business of the people and get it done right.”
But Henry argues it would be easier to use the budget approved by the legislature in the regular session and fill in the budget gaps with any money raised in this special session…
“Putting the $30 billion we already spent in play in a budget. Then we are dealing with whatever we raise whether it is 300 to 500 million dollars and that money is the part we get to move around.”
New Orleans Representative Walt Leger was asked what would happen if a budget compromise is not found by July 1st, and the next fiscal year starts without a spending plan. He said that’d mean a government shutdown.
“When paychecks don’t go out, I assume that operations get halted in various entities. Many of the nonessential things I believe just stop operating.”
Certain critical services and infrastructure would still operate unfunded for a time if the showdown became prolonged.