BATON ROUGE — Louisiana lawmakers are back at work today, beginning a week of potentially contentious bills, including the state budget with $650 million in cuts, according to Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Minden.
“This is the new number for the fiscal cliff, down from $994 [million] after the Revenue Estimating Committee recognized around $300 million from the federal tax cut,” Reynolds said.
“There is a group that wants to pass this budget first then go into a special session during the regular session time, maybe around May 20th, and try to back fill with revenue from the special, most likely with keeping a part of the penny that will expire.”
In light of past sessions, Reynolds is not optimistic about the chance of success for such a plan.
“We have had a regular fiscal session and I think five specials and we did nothing,” he said. “There are no new ideas. The options have not changed, and I cannot see any changes in mindsets on the floor.”
Should the budget bill come up this week with the anticipated cuts, Reynolds said he would vote against the bill.
“I cannot vote for this ‘cuts-only’ budget that will impact rural parishes and critical services more than the big cities,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds hopes the increased sense of urgency will lead to compromise, but so far, that hasn’t been the case. “I don’t want to be negative but there needs to be some sort sign that people are ready to meet in the middle,” he said.