BATON ROUGE – Governor Edwards announced on Friday that he is bringing the legislature into its next special session starting Feb. 13 to address the state's $300 million budget deficit.
The special session will run to Feb. 23.
The announcement was made at the state's budget committee meeting held on Friday morning.
Edwards said that the cuts are "going to be deep and painful." He also says that he wants to tap into the state's Rainy Day Fund. However, it will take a two-thirds majority vote from both houses to approve the cuts.
"There may be some disagreement about the specific actions that we take, and that's all fair game and I understand that, but I think the stage is set for great success, by working hard and good faith, having an honest conversation and likely honest disagreements," Edwards said.
Representative Cameron Henry said that he is against the special session and taking from the Rainy Day Fund, saying that cuts can be made without them.
"Well as the governor pointed out, the administration used the Rainy Day Fund four times, and what did it get us? A deficit. We're living in a deficit now, we're living in a rainy day, it's time to sit back and live within our means, using the Rainy Day Fund only going to do two things: require us to generate more taxes in the future or to cut greater in the future," Henry said.
The last special session cost taxpayers about $1 million and those who are opposed say they do not need it.
"We have more than enough revenue within the state to spend within our means. The issue we have now is the governor doesn't want to make the tough cuts that a governor unfortunately has to do. That's his responsibility," Henry said.
Edwards said that he wants to spare public schools and universities along with some healthcare services for the poor.
Edwards also said that there will be no proposal for his administration to raise a single tax or fee, however many legislative parties have requested to give the option to raise fees.
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