Commissioner Dardenne vows no 'smoke or mirrors' to balance budget

Commissioner Dardenne vows no 'smoke or mirrors' to balance budget

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The new Louisiana House of Representatives heard more Tuesday on the state's deep money problems.

Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne presented to members a $1.9 billion shortfall for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

"We're looking at a $1.9 billion problem," said Dardenne.

"We do have a tall order and I will tell you this body has recognized it immediately," said House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia.

Lawmakers Monday elected Barras as Speaker of the House over Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans, which was a setback for Governor John Bel Edwards.

Leger acknowledged the disappointment, but then pledged to work with Barras on the state's number of troubles.

"Mr. Speaker, to you, I certainly want to offer my hand in support to you in every way possible," said Rep. Leger.

"I'm happy that we all could come together and choose a person that we feel that we all can work with," said Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport.

Commissioner Dardenne said anything is a possibility, whether its cuts or raising taxes, to build a balanced budget.

"The budget that we'll present to you will be a realistic one," said Dardenne. "It will not be clouded by smoke or covered in mirrors. It's going to be a real budget based upon reality."

The administration is expected to present its budget proposal February 13.

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