Representative Alfred Williams
BATON ROUGE- Thursday is the final day for state lawmakers to get work done at the Capitol. It's the last day of the legislative session, and after two months the budget is still a hot topic.
The Senate passed a budget earlier this week, but the House rejected it. Now, a conference committee is making the final decisions behind closed doors. The biggest question on the table is, will Governor Jindal get the tax breaks he wants, or will the House come up with a compromise that he will agree to?
So far, lawmakers have raised about $800 million in revenue. That money will go toward avoiding cuts to state colleges and healthcare for the poor. But, if Jindal doesn't get the breaks he wants, specifically the SAVE fund for higher education, he has threatened a veto.
A veto session cannot be convened until July 21st, almost a month into the next fiscal year. Analysts say it would be a devastating blow to the state.
"You're talking about absolute chaos," said Bob Mann, a political analyst. "Because no one knows whether the legislature has the will to override the governor on these vetoes that he might make, and what happens in the meantime? The government runs out of money."
Legislators have until 6 p.m. to make their final decisions and see if Jindal will sign off on the budget. If he does end up vetoing it, some lawmakers plan to fight his decision.