One of the state House's top budget leaders has posted a video to Facebook slamming Gov. John Bel Edwards amid ongoing discussions about the state's future finances.
House Appropriations Chair Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, called his three-minute video "Kickoff to Fear Season 2017" and accused Edwards of using scare tactics to increase state spending.
"The governor has now started fear season," Henry says in the video. "He's going to start out sending a little bit of information of things that are going to be cut if he doesn't get all the money he wants."
The timing of the video is of particular interest. Edwards, a Democrat, has been holding meetings with business leaders and elected officials throughout the state. He was in Shreveport Thursday for the closed-to-the-press meetings. Earlier this week, he was in New Orleans.
With the ever-nearing expiration of more than $1 billion in temporary taxes, the leader of t…
State lawmakers approved a temporary sales-tax hike last year to make the budget whole without dramatic cuts until a more permanent budget solution could be reached. That sales tax increase expires next June.
The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, had signaled that he believed the state would have a plan for solving it's looming billion-dollar deficit by January.
"I think people are a little more willing to generally understand because the deadline's a little closer. They're a little bit more engaged, and I'm encouraged by that," Barras told the AP.
The governor's office quickly struck back at Henry's video, pointing to Barras' comments.
"The Approps Chair should probably talk to the Speaker," Edwards deputy chief of staff Richard Carbo tweeted. "They don't appear to be on the same (page)."
Henry and Edwards have had an icy relationship since the governor took office in January 2016. Henry was thought to be the GOP-controlled House pick for speaker, though Edwards backed a Democrat for the post. The House bucked an odd, long-standing tradition of letting governors hand pick legislative leaders and instead named Barras to the post, with Henry's blessing.
Since then, the House Republican leadership has repeatedly thwarted Edwards' attempts to shore up the budget by increasing revenue through taxes and reduced exemptions.