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Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Marksville, makes an impassioned plea to defeat HB1, the state budget bill, during debate on the measure Thursday April 19, 2018, in Baton Rouge, La. The budget bill passed 55-47.

Republican leaders in the House of Representatives seem bent on forcing the Legislature into a third special session this year to deal with a budget crisis they repeatedly refuse to solve.

Another special session will cost Louisiana taxpayers in the range of $750,000. That’s a cost this state can ill afford, either financially or psychologically. That extra expense will just make the $643 million budget hole we already face even deeper.

House panel advances special session's first tax measure; Temporary sales tax bill now heads to House floor

Another session will mean more weeks of escalating anxiety for every TOPS recipient, for every employee and every patient at the nine public-private hospitals, for every employee and student at our colleges and universities and for thousands of nursing home residents.

Petty, partisan politics is the only reason I imagine that House Republican leadership wants to drag out this budget process. They seem determined — after not working for an entire week — to delay the process when several avenues lay before us to fully fund and approve a budget before this session ends June 4.

House Democrats continue to stand and work for realistic, bipartisan solutions to fill this $643 million hole so we can fund the vital services our Louisiana depends upon.

State Rep. Robert Johnson

chairman, House Democratic Caucus

Marksville