Reynolds to stay as Dem. Chair

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Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Minden, has decided not to step down as House Democratic Caucus Chair, and the hope for true tax reform is the reason, he said.

“For right now,” he said, “and when the normal elections come around, I’m going to step aside and let somebody else have it, but we’re maybe looking at a special session, and we can’t have a special session until we know what it is we can do. The tax structure is so important to get done.”

He said at the urging of several people from the Democratic and Republican parties, he decided to stay in the position to help organize a series of meetings to discuss tax reform structure.

“It’s something that we’re going to have to do,” he said. “That was the driving thing behind it. I think we’re ready to work, and I think that’s encouraging. That’s the reason I want to get back in there and get back into the normal swing.”

Reynolds will remain the Democratic Caucus chair for the next two years until elections.

Since the closing of the special session in June, Reynolds said there has been genuine discussion by the Democrats and the Republicans to begin tax reform talks.

“We’ll probably hold a series of retreats before we even talk about a special session and talk about what we can get the votes for,” he said. “The key number on some of these important issues is 70. What can we get 70 votes on? With the feedback I’ve been getting the last couple of days, I’m starting to think we can get this done.
It’s going to take some work.”

If a special session is called, it would be after both parties strongly agree on reform, he said. The legislature could call the special session, but Reynolds said he would go to Gov. John Bel Edwards and present a proposed reform package that would pass.

A tax reform package to stabilize the tax structure and stop the state from depending on temporary taxes is the entire goal, he reiterated.

“If our two groups can agree on something, we’ll sit down with the governor and tell him, ‘Look, we can do this. We have the votes, and if you call a special session, we know we can get this accomplished,’” he said. “Until that happens, I don’t think we’ll have a special session.”

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