Lawmakers Racing The Clock As Final Hours Of Legislative Session Wind Down
This session of the Louisiana Legislature will be brought to a close at 6pm tonight. That's the way the rules are written and we all know how our lawmakers love their rules. Especially when it comes to quittin' time. So how much unfinished business will there be when the 6pm deadline arrives?
The biggest issue is the budget. We don't have one of those figured out yet. The comes the political dance of raising taxes to create revenue to avoid budget shortfalls versus the political pledge of not raising taxes. Lawmakers are concerned that all their hard work will go for naught if occasionally in the office Governor Jindal decides to pull out the veto pen.
Governor Jindal is requiring a tax offset somewhere in the budget that so he say he did not allow taxes to be raised. Should he veto some 300-million dollars in revenue generation via taxes that will leave a might big blank space in the budget.
That number of 300-million that could wind up as a deficit if no tax offset is created would just about be taken care of with a proposed 282-milllion dollar cut to the state's higher education programs. That has university chancellors and presidents very uncomfortable as we approach the witching hour of 6pm.
Will there be a special session to override a veto if it comes? Will the budget get balanced? Will our state's higher education get dumped on like our state's public schools already get dumped on? We will see where we stand when the smoke clears and the gavel comes down tonight at 6pm. Regardless you can bet many legislators will be pulling muscles in their arms congratulating themselves on what a great job they did for us.