Capitol Views: 'Pretend budget' advanced by Louisiana Senate

UPDATE: Sen. Walsworth reacts to senate budget

The Louisiana Senate voted Tuesday (May 15) to approve a state spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1. They hope lawmakers will pass replacement taxes in a special session starting next week.

Edwards said in a Monday afternoon press conference that, when the current regular session ends early, he will issue a call for a special session that begins May 22 and ends June 4 - the same day the current regular session was to end. A Senate committee provided money for the state's hospitals and some 37,000 Medicaid recipients with disabilities and living in nursing homes, and it cut resources for public colleges, food stamps and public safety.

"It's not fair to the people we serve", said Sen. "This is just an exercise in futility".

The governor's comments prior to the Senate's vote took on the same tone.

Also Monday evening, more than 50 members of the state House of Representatives sent the Governor a letter requesting that he add a Constitutional Convention to the special session call because they want "to pursue long-term, structural reform of our finance and budget system". Those provisions, along with a Republican effort to make passage of Democrat-backed bills conditional upon passage of GOP-backed bills, were mainly to blame for the failure to meet a compromise.

The Senate's version of the budget cuts the general fund allocation to the treasurer, judiciary, Legislature, Secretary of State and every other agency by 24.2 percent. While senators weren't pleased with this formula, many called it a demonstration of the state's critical needs and justification for creating new revenue sources in the special session.

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