Differing Ideas Arise As Legislators Work To Resolve Budget Gap
Governor Edwards and state lawmakers are in Baton Rouge for the special session to find a solution to the looming fiscal cliff that threatens to gut popular programs like TOPS. The governor is seeking tax reform, and Republicans want spending reductions. Erath Representative Blake Miguez says the GOP caucus is demanding the creation of the Louisiana Checkbook.
He says the program would increase transparency, and would closely resembles Ohio’s Ohiocheckbook.com
Along with implementing Medicaid copays, tighter eligibility, and work requirements, Miguez says he also wants to see a state spending cap that is tied to private sector economic performance.
Democrats say they will not allow a full renewal of the expiring one penny sales tax, as they feel it unfairly targets the poor. Franklin Representative and Democrat Sam Jones wants a budget deal that ensures crucial programs are not underfunded.
Political analysts have warned the special session could be a political minefield, with Republicans attempting to make sure the governor does not leave with a “win” that could propel him to another term in office. Jones says so far, the negotiations have been fair.
Shreveport Representative Republican Alan Seabaugh says he’s beginning to see the framework for a grand bargain.
The special session ends March 7th.