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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.

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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