Gov. John Bel Edwards has again shifted his timeline for calling a still-tentative special session for lawmakers to address a looming $1 billion state budget shortfall.
Edwards, a Democrat who took office in January 2016, had initially set out on a Feb. 15 start date, but the governor is now eyeing a Feb. 19 start, deputy chief of staff Richard Carbo said Tuesday.
The governor has not yet reached an informal agreement with House Republican leaders on the best approach to avoiding the "fiscal cliff" when temporary tax measures expire July 1. Edwards and House Speaker Taylor Barras, a New Iberia Republican who has separately expressed his support for a special session, again discussed options on Monday. Carbo described the talks as productive.
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State law requires that the governor give a week's notice before the start of a special session, setting up a Friday deadline for the new Feb. 15 projected start date.
On Monday, a bipartisan group of state senators sent a letter to Edwards urging him to call a special session even if there is no agreement in place.
The regular session begins March 12, and lawmakers can't take up most revenue-generating measures during regular sessions in even-numbered years.
Edwards last month unveiled a doomsday budget scenario that would mean deep cuts to health care and higher education programs if the state has to balance out the entire amount of expiring taxes without replacing some revenue.