budget gap

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Two tax bills that will help the state overcome a looming one billion dollar budget deficit are heading to the House floor. Some Republicans were seeking to make permanent a quarter of a temporary one-cent sales tax. But Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh didn’t like the permanent part, so he changed the legislation so a quarter of the temporary one-cent sales tax stays until mid-2021.

 

Seabaugh says that the State would need about two more years before it "permanently sticks its hands into businesses' pockets."

 

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Teacher salaries reached the Southern regional average in 2007, but Louisiana has fallen behind, as educators receive on average 17-hundred dollars less. And with a one-billion-dollar shortfall, it’s unlikely extra money will go towards the 47-thousand public school teachers. Legislative Director for the Louisiana Federation of Teachers Cynthia Posey says the pay is leading to fewer teachers.

 

Posey says teachers are in the profession to changes lives.  She says even though it isn’t all about the money, they have bills to pay and families to take care of.

 

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Governor Edwards and state lawmakers are in Baton Rouge for the special session to find a solution to the looming fiscal cliff that threatens to gut popular programs like TOPS. The governor is seeking tax reform, and Republicans want spending reductions. Erath Representative Blake Miguez says the GOP caucus is demanding the creation of the Louisiana Checkbook.

 

He says the program would increase transparency, and would closely resembles Ohio’s Ohiocheckbook.com

 

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The special session kicks off today to address a one billion dollar shortfall. Legislators have until March 7th to find a fix to the looming fiscal cliff or else cuts will occur in the areas of higher education and health care. Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin says the governor has talked privately with house speaker Taylor Barras on solutions.

 

Early reports say legislators are making progress on a fix the to one billion dollar budget gap. Erwin says even though a deal isn’t currently on hand, he expects some agreement to be made.

 

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House Republicans are looking at renewing at least some or all of the temporary one cent sales tax as a way to address a looming one billion dollar shortfall. Houma Representative Tanner Mcgee.

 

But Governor John Bel Edwards says he will not support any plan that maintains the current sales tax rate which is currently five percent, one of the highest in the country. And Baton Rouge Representative Ted James says legislators promised to let the temporary sales tax penny expire when they voted for it in 2016.

 

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Today is the deadline for Governor John Bel Edwards to call a February special session to address the looming one billion dollar budget hole resulting in the expiration of sales taxes. The governor said he would not call the session without an agreement in principle on a fiscal cliff deal, but LAPoltics.com publisher Jeremy Alford says the governor is being pushed to call the session.

 

Because it’s a revenue issue, the fiscal cliff can only be addressed in a special session.

 

Louisiana House Leaders Plan Closed-Door Financial Retreat

Oct 11, 2017
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Louisiana House lawmakers are planning a closed-door retreat to hash out ideas for closing a looming $1 billion-plus state budget gap.

 The meeting will be held Thursday at a Baton Rouge catering hall.

 Alexandria Rep. Lance Harris, head of the House GOP delegation, called the gathering an "educational, bipartisan retreat" aimed at getting the most up-to-date information about the state's finances and the options for filling the budget hole.