Special session expected to end early

Special session expected to end early


Louisiana lawmakers say the special session could end early after the House of Representatives reached a tax bill compromise.

Senators say they’re set to vote on the deal, Monday, after the finance committee approved the proposal extending 4.45-percent of the one-percent state sales tax for the next seven years.

"This plan is not perfect but that’s the nature of a compromise," said Governor John Bel Edwards.

Governor Edwards was in better spirits than we’ve seen in a while, praising legislators for stabilizing the state’s finances and restoring accountability.

"We are going to fund our most critical priorities and there are going to be other things we need to do that we’re not going to get around to this year. But I’m confident we’re on a much better path," Edwards explained.

Yet, lawmakers say it was no easy feat. 

"It was touch and go and it could’ve gone south at any minute," said Representative Julie Stokes. "We had five pennies of sales tax and now we have 4.45. That piece of a penny, that .05 piece of a penny ended up being a gulf between people that we’ve finally bridged."

Representative Stokes says the compromise still came with cuts, $42 million worth to be exact. 

It includes two million in the executive department, but Stokes says military and elderly departments are still in tact.

Legislators also made cuts within youth, correctional services and jail housing for state inmates. However, funding for that is still at 95-percent. 

More importantly, Stokes says lawmakers were able to save funding for the services that most impact people’s lives. 

The plan that moved out of the House Friday fully-funds TOPS and Go grants, it stabilizes higher education and continues funding for SNAP.

"In the great scheme of things, we finish this out in the best possible scenario given the heated stubbornness of both sides," explained Stokes.

Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved.

Published at Sun, 24 Jun 2018 04:17:00 +0000

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