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Louisiana News
We've collected a stories about the 2015 Louisiana Legislative Session. What new bill is coming up for a vote? How are lawmakers doing in protecting higher education and health care from cuts? What other initiatives are in the works for Louisiana? Find them here.

Senate vs. House vs. Grover (and the Gov)

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“Who the hell cares what Grover says?”

Apparently the Senate does, while the House could not care less. The Senate passed their “new and improved” version of the budget Monday, with the SAVE plan included, although Sen. Karen Carter Peterson did try to take SAVE out.

“It would take GroverNorquistout of the business of budgeting in the state of Louisiana,” Peterson said, arguing for her amendment toHB1 -- the budget bill – which failed, 13-26.

Over in the House, there was an attempt to add the SAVE plan language to Adley’s SB 93. Rep. John Bel Edwards and the amendment’s author, Rep. Alan Seabaugh, discussed what SAVE is—and does.

“It’s an assessment the students don’t have to pay, in exchange for a tax credit that they cannot keep?” Edwards asked with feigned incredulity. “Instead it’s automatically transferred to the Board of Regents which is a tax exempt institution?”

“It’s a weird program. It doesn’t make sense,” Seabaugh agreed. “I said I’m not going to defend the merits of it. What I am saying is, it needs to be attached to this legislation in order to avoid a veto of the budget.”

“But it’s just essential that we do it?” Edwards pressed.

“Yes,” Seabaugh responded.

“Essential” is not what Grover says. Over the weekend, eleven Republican members of the House penned an open letter to Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform, asking why a “purely fictional, procedural, phantom, paper tax credit” is necessary. On Monday they got a response.

“It said, ‘The ATR does not support nor oppose the SAVE Act,” Rep. Jeff Arnold read from Norquist’s letter. “While the SAVE Act does include a credit that could be used to offset tax increases, there are other ways to achieve revenue neutrality.”

When it became clear that the House would say no to SAVE, Seabaugh withdrew the amendment.

The stage is now set for further unpleasantness between the Senate and House, as today the House is scheduled to vote on concurrence on Senate amendments to the House’s revenue raising measures, as well as concurrence on the Senate’s version of the budget.

It also sets up the very real potential of a veto of the entire budget.

Copyright 2015 WRKF

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