Foster Campbell, co-chair of the Fiscal Matters Committee set under Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards, is mum on discussions from last week, saying a report will soon be made public about their discussions.
“We’re coming out with suggestions of possible things to solve the problems,” he said.
“That’s all I can tell you. There’s lots of suggestions; we’ve heard from all the major groups that have opinions of what we can do, and we’re taking it all under consideration. Then we’ll present it to the administration.”
There are several things they are looking at he said, adding people are certainly interested in exemptions. Several tax exemptions have been put into place over the years under the Jindal administration to bring in business. However, State Rep. Gene Reynolds has said in budget talks, these tax exemptions will be a major focus in the coming months to see what is still working and what is not.
The Fiscal Matters Committee is tasked with finding ways to eliminate budget deficit, funding secondary and higher education and improving access to healthcare in the state.
Reynolds says Edwards has to have a “call” for a special session.
“In this call for a special session, you have to have whatever it is you’re wanting a special session for,” he said. “That’s what the committees are doing now. So, when the call comes, there will be all these bullet points on the reasons on why the call and what’s being proposed.”
In Campbell’s announcement to the committee, he said they are looking at places to cut and/or consolidate services, but he won’t know until he gets a full scope of the budget crisis.
“It’s a multi-faceted deal; it will take a while,” he said in a Dec. 7 interview. “But you have to start off with a plan, and to have any kind of plan, you have to know where you are. You have to know the truth about how much you owe and how much income is coming in. Once you know the facts, then you can start digging yourself out of the hole.”
Over the last weeks, Edwards has been appointing committees in his transition team to tackle the many challenges and issues facing the state of Louisiana, mainly the budget.
Edwards, in his announcements, has said he will call a special fiscal session in February 2016.