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Budget threats becoming familiar pattern

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BATON ROUGE - The current budget brinksmanship is nothing new in Louisiana politics. Less than a year ago, similar doomsday stories were told about the future of higher education and health care.

Both then and now, state leaders emphasized those scenarios would play out if taxes were not raised.

And despite a strong rebuttal to Governor Edwards' tax proposal from Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy, his colleagues in the legislature seem to share the governor's concerns.

"I think if everyone takes a little haircut through this exercise it will come out fine," said Senate President John Alario on Friday. "Everyone takes a little cut, everyone pays a little revenue, and it will work itself out."

Alario didn't say how much of a tax increase he or other Republicans would support, but both he and House Speaker Taylor Barras have said some increase is necessary.

State lawmakers go into a three-week special session on Sunday to take up the issue. Taxes will undoubtedly be the center of heated debate. Many expect a situation similar to last year's to play out again.

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