Local lawmakers talk about special session

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It was the final minutes of the special legislative session.  Monday night, just before midnight Shreveport Republican, Alan Seabaugh stopped attempts to reconsider a bill which would generate more than $500 million in revenue for the State of Louisiana.

“We’ve voted on it, we’ve already been here, and yes, I am trying to run the clock out…”

Fellow Republican Representative, Raymond Crews agrees with Seabaugh blocking the legislation.

“Many people were applauding him on that because we’d already signaled that we don’t want any more taxes, so there’s no sense taking another vote on that issue.”

Others say it killed hopes to save state programs and Governor John Bel Edwards called it a sad day in Louisiana.  He says many lawmakers put politics before people.

“All they gotta do is go to the legislative website and they can see the name of every legislator who voted against that responsible budget, one that would reduce the tax burden for the State of Louisiana by more than $500 million and yet fund all of our critical priorities … That is just a damn shame.”

Edwards says the inaction during the special session puts higher education and the TOPS program in jeopardy. 

Rep. Crews believes more money will be generated.

“I honestly believe that this stuff is going to be funded maybe not 100 percent but very close.”

Edwards said the upcoming special session would end before July first, which is when any tax measures would likely take effect.

Crews says, “I sure hope the governor has gotten the message that people aren’t willing for more taxes.” 

The governor did not say whether he plans to veto the current budget.  Lawmakers still need to close a projected $648 million budget gap.

We reached out to local democratic lawmakers to get their take on last night’s break down.  Here’s what Rep. Sam Jenkins had to say:

” I am disappointed for the people.  I think once again we failed to get the job done. I am not certain if we would have had an opportunity in such a short period of time to do a re-vote that it would have made a difference.  I don’t think anyone was willing to change their mind on the re-vote and the outcome would have been the same.”

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