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Halfway through special session with no votes cast over tax increases

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BATON ROUGE - Lawmakers are nearly halfway through the special session but not a single vote has happened over a number of tax increases. Sources on Monday said there’s squabbling behind the scenes over how high taxes should be raised or how long they should stay in place.

The first stop for tax bills is in the House Ways and Means Committee. Members say a compromise is coming soon.

I would imagine we’ll see considerable movement this week,” said Rep. Chris Broadwater (R-Hammond).

One point of contention is between business interests and government services.

“We have allowed ourselves to subsidize businesses for too long,” said Rep. Ted James (D-Baton Rouge) who has introduced a bill to repeal business tax credits.

There are a number of bills designed to raise taxes and roll back tax credits for corporations throughout the state. Lobbyists are out in full force at the capitol figuratively twisting arms to get the best possible outcome for their clients.

Many lawmakers expect there will be a need for two special session this fiscal year. The current session to close this year’s budget shortfall and another one in June for next year’s deficit. 

“If it’s necessary for us to take up some issues later I know the legislature and I assume the governor are prepared to do so,” said Broadwater.

Lawmakers have until March 9th to finish the current special session.

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