Louisiana Legislature

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Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne is warning that lawmakers will not be able to cut their way to a balanced budget for next fiscal year. He testified in front of the House Appropriations Committee today and reiterated the governor’s call to wrap up the regular session in early May, so that a special session that addresses revenue can be called to tackle the fiscal cliff. Dardenne has a challenge for lawmakers who disagree.


Revenue issues can only be brought up in a special session this year.


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If the legislature decides to cut its way through the billion dollar budget gap, private health care providers warn the consequences would be dire. If the Department of Health sustains the kinds of cuts being discussed, public-private facilities would be on the chopping block. Our Lady of the Lake President Scott Wester says those cuts would mean the end of their partnership with the state, LSU, and LDH.


Wester says, "A zero budget for the public-private partnership, specifically in Baton Rouge, really causes a termination in our agreement."


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House and Senate committees are meeting today to discuss legislation that if adopted would trigger a constitutional convention. Much of the interest is due to the state’s current budgetary law that restricts cuts to only higher ed and health care when faced with a budget deficit. Senator Troy Carter, who has proposed his own bill to tackle the issue, says it’s time to bring our government into 2018.


Carter says, "In order for us to enjoy reform, we have to go back and look back at our practices and bring them in line with the 21st century."


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Governor John Bel Edwards released his legislative agenda aimed at improving the well-being of children and seniors. One of the bills included is West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman’s proposal to reduce the requirements necessary for public school teachers to obtain tenure. Hoffman says the current requirements are unfair to educators.


Hoffman says that the bill still won't make obtaining tenure a "piece of cake." He says that if obtaining tenure is an option, it needs to be "fair to the teachers." 


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The regular session begins today less than a week after the special session crashed and burned. Fiscal cliff negotiations will be put on hold while a slew of other issues take center stage. There are several gun control bills filed. But Council for a Better Louisiana President Barry Erwin doesn’t see any of the measures to restrict who can purchase an assault rifle passing.


Erwin says that despite the school shooting in Florida, it's "really hard to see legislation to limit guns" in Louisiana. He says that Louisiana is a "huge Second Amendment state." 


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Now that the special session concluded without a solution to fill a one-billion-dollar budget shortfall in July, TOPS funding could be cut by 80-percent. There are nearly 48-thousand TOPS students. Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo says many parents can’t afford to send their kids to college without some financial help. Those college prospects are looking elsewhere to get their education.


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The Manship School at LSU has created a game that lets taxpayers put forward their own plan on how to address the billion dollar fiscal cliff. “Solve The Budget” presents players with a list of budget items that can be cut or funded, and tax proposals that can be adopted to rejected to close the budget gap. Manship Dean Jerry Cepos is encouraging everyone to hop online and give it a try.


Cepos says, "There's no better way to get the gut feel of what thousands of people would suggest that their legislators do."


For over a year now, the Sales Tax Streamlining and Modernization commission has been attempting to simplify the way Louisiana collects sales taxes. 


A major company has decided to place a moratorium on new movie and film productions in Louisiana, following legislative changes to the state's film tax credit program.

Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne says it's an early sign of companies displeasure in the new law that lowered the tax credit to $180 million.  "It's distressing to see that reaction.  I hope we can alleviate some concerns down the road that we're trying to fix that," said Dardenne.

Tax Filing Extension Penalty Takes Effect July 1

Jun 19, 2015

A bill that creates a fee for filing an extension for state taxes cleared the legislative session.

State Senator Mike Walsworth discussed the item this week in meeting with constituents at the West Monroe Convention Center.  He indicated that in light of the current budget crisis, the bill would create revenue.  

"We needed money for higher education, health care, and that is just another way of getting money into the state budget," said Walsworth.