Louisiana tax session negotiations kick off with tension
BATON ROUGE (AP) - Negotiations over taxes to fill gaps in Louisiana's budget have started off tensely between Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration and House lawmakers.
The Democratic governor is trying to heighten pressure to win support for $648 million in taxes to replace some temporary taxes that expire when the budget year begins July 1. On Wednesday, he rallied leaders and employees of Louisiana's safety-net hospitals to buttonhole lawmakers and press for tax votes, saying the facilities are threatened with cuts.
But in the House tax committee, Republican lawmakers criticized Edwards' approach, questioning why he vetoed a budget for next year and whether he's done enough to find government savings.
The bristling tone raises questions about whether lawmakers will raise revenue and pass a budget in the 14-day special session that opened Tuesday.