Second LA special session fails, third expected with looming deadline
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Louisiana state lawmakers hope the third time will be the charm for the next special session.
That's because the second special legislative session ended at midnight with no deal on new taxes to fill budget holes, before the July 1 deadline.
"Yes, I am trying to run the clock out because we voted on this bill before," announced Shreveport State Representative Alan Seabaugh on the floor of the Louisiana House just before midnight.
Seabaugh's controversial filibuster effectively ended a second special session at the state capitol in Baton Rouge without a tax increase agreement.
Seabaugh told KSLA News 12 he took the action largely because his fellow Republicans have already compromised so much with their budget plan of $400 million in tax increases.
"The governor wanted $650 (million) and the Republicans wanted to give him nothing. So our $400 million offer was meeting in the middle. In fact, it was more than half. And he said $650 or nothing. So we got nothing," said Seabaugh, speaking to KSLA News 12 over the phone on Tuesday.
Seabaugh said the house missed a big opportunity by rejecting the GOP's budget offer.
"It would result in a one per, actually a point-7 percent reduction in state government. No state department would be cut more than point-7 percent ."
But retiring Democratic State Representative Gene Reynolds of Minden questioned Seabaugh's claims of the Republicans' big compromise.
"Even at the $400 million that was HB 27. They still didn't vote for that. I mean, he can say that but he didn't vote for it," recalled Reynolds.
The house did pass a scaled-down $29 billion budget. It fully funds healthcare but cuts higher education and funds 70 percent of the TOPS college scholarship program.
But even that budget agreement relies on $540 million in new taxes which have not been approved yet.
"We passed a budget that had a figure but we didn't pass any revenue to match that figure which is kind of stupid but that's what we did," concluded Reynolds, whose term ended at the end of the session.
Governor John Bel Edwards announced he will call for a third special session, but no timetable has been given yet.
According to the governor's office, the next special session will cost about $60,000 per day.
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