There's still a week to go before Louisiana lawmakers must adjourn the special session called to address the rapidly approaching fiscal cliff, widespread shorthand for the June 30 expiration of $1 billion or so in temporary sales taxes. Those taxes, which date back to 2016, were adopted specifically to head off immediate budgetary catastrophe and to give the Legislature plenty of time to come up with a long term plan.
So much for that.
And perhaps so much for figuring out a plan now, before they enter a long regular session in which they're barred by law from raising most revenue.
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Even if it collapses, you can't say that the quick special legislative aimed at averting a $1 billion budget shortfall has been devoid of acco…
Wednesday morning, after a day off to regroup following Monday's heated standoff, legislators who gathered in the House chamber were anything but upbeat, according to the reporters monitoring the situation.
As the Advocate's Elizabeth Crisp described it on Twitter, "House members are starting to filter into the chamber. They were told to be in their seats at 10am sharp, but there doesn't seem to be much optimism that anything will happen then."
The Associated Press's Melinda Deslatte tweeted out what she called a "grim assessment" from state Rep. Tanner Magee, R-Houma. "We should admit failure ... I feel no sense of urgency from anyone," he said.
And state Rep. Kenny Havard, R-St. Francisville, called the situation a "train wreck," according to another tweet by the USA Today Network's Greg Hilburn. (Both Magee and Havard are Republicans who have shown willingness to support some revenue measures, unlike a determined subset of their GOP colleagues.)
The regular session convenes March 12 and runs through June 4, so if lawmakers don't act during the special session, they'll have to come back afterwards and try again.
In the meantime, they'll spend the nearly three months in Baton Rouge not addressing the state's most pressing issue, and probably not adopting a budget, since any budget they do adopt would reflect deep cuts to higher education and health care that nobody wants to support.
If they're not having any fun now, just imagine what that's going to be like.