The latest word, first reported Tuesday by USA Today Network's Greg Hilburn, is that after blowing past two self-imposed deadlines, Gov. John Bel Edwards plans to issue a call on Friday for lawmakers to finally address the rapidly approaching fiscal cliff.
Assuming it happens, the post Mardi-Gras special session to contend with the impending loss of $1 billion or so in tax revenue should give the governor something of an upper hand in pushing a powerful group of House Republicans to finally come up with their own plan to either raise the revenue or make specific cuts, or some combination of the two. So far, the ideas proposed by House Speaker Taylor Barras, things like enhancing spending tracking and adding work requirements for Medicaid, haven't directly addressed the crisis at hand.
Louisiana leaders ended another week Friday without a firm agreement on addressing the state's nearly $1 billion fiscal cliff.
A bipartisan slate of State Senators is urging Gov. John Bel Edwards to call the state Legislature into a special session this month to addres…
That's why a number of lawmakers have been independently urging Edwards to call the special session even without an agreement, sometimes on Twitter and sometimes in private. Some of the pleas have been optimistic, contending that once lawmakers are in one place it will be easier to come to an agreement. Off the record, one legislator told me that the governor should do it to call his adversaries' bluff. Make them sit in Baton Rouge spending taxpayer money and staring at each other for all to see, if that's what it takes.
Monday, a group of senators put their request for a session in writing.
“There is not a single option that will be available in June that is not available to the legislature now. The state gains nothing and only loses by waiting,” the letter says. “Waiting until June or later to solve the budget shortfall will unduly burden and cause irreparable harm to our universities and hospitals, and further harm the constituents served by them.”
You can't blame them for being frustrated by the situation, since they can't act until the House does, and their message pretty much echoed Edwards' argument from the beginning.
And they're far from the only ones who are still waiting for a reasonable counter argument.