The Louisiana Legislature has been in session for the past 18 weeks, but it finally could be coming to a close in one more week.
“I can’t envision right now a third special session to address what we know today,” Gov. John Bel Edwards told reporters during a news conference on Friday.
The state Legislature remains split on efforts to raise additional revenue to bridge an estimated $600 million shortfall in the budget that begins July 1, even as one of the state’s top economists has predicted that the state will end the current budget on June 30 nearly $200 million short.
Lawmakers began the first special session on Feb. 14 to address the shortfall that was, at that point, $2 billion but didn’t generate enough money to cover the entire gap. After the regular session ended, Edwards pushed the Legislature into a second special session. (Revenue-raising measures can’t be considered during the regular session in even-numbered years.)
“The clock is ticking,” Edwards said. “The sense of urgency ought to be increasing every day.”
Edwards, a Democrat who took office Jan. 11, said he thinks legislators who have said they won’t vote for any additional tax hikes “are somehow hoping that money is going to just show up.”
“We’re not talking about a majority of the members of either body. It’s a minority of the members,” he said.