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Time running out on fiscal cliff

The clock is ticking in Baton Rouge for a special session to address the state’s budget woes, known as the fiscal cliff, says Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Minden.

“The way I understand the law, we must make the call by Feb 7th to have a special session before the regular starting March 12,” he said.

The reason we must have a special session is because you can not by law pass any tax issues during this year’s regular session.”

Reynolds has been traveling as of late to work on a solution, but has run into more blame, than answers.

“The main topic has been pointing fingers at everyone going back 20 years, or trying to get political talking points in a conversation designed to get re-elected,” Reynolds said. “I feel that unless something or somebody steps forward with concrete offers for consideration there will not be a special session in Feb.”

Even with ideas and potential solutions on the table, the chances of lawmakers reaching consensus are slim, Reynolds said. “Even if negotiations began today the big question is, ‘Can you get 70 votes on the items that come out of a meeting?’”

“There are 61 Republicans, 3 Independents and 41 Democrats in the House,”Reynolds said. “Getting a combination of these groups to pass anything is always tough but this vote would be very tough.”

Politically, any deal will have ramifications for elected officials, going into an election cycle.

That, however isn’t deterring Reynolds from pushing forward. “As a former athlete and coach when it is the bottom of the ninth and the game is on the line I want the ball,” he said.

“We must address the problem now. I don’t have a good feeling today but perhaps that will change.”

As the clock continues to tick, the realization that a deal may not happen is becoming more real.

“One of my younger colleagues asked me the other day, ‘What happens if we fail and the billion must come out with cuts?’ and I told him then you just have to live with your decisions,” Reynolds said.