La. lawmakers reschedule cigarette, alcohol tax votes ... again

La. lawmakers reschedule cigarette, alcohol tax votes ... again

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana legislators have rescheduled the votes on cigarette and alcohol taxes again, pushing back the votes repeatedly for a week.

Lawmakers are now expected to vote on the taxes Thursday.

With less than a week left in the special session, there is a lack of confidence at the Louisiana State Capitol and mounting fears that lawmakers will not close the budget gap on time.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee listened to public testimony. The committee is considering cuts to this year's budget.

It's not a good feeling that some are carrying with them in the final week of the special session. No one wants to roll a remaining deficit over to next year, but at the same time, it can be hard finding anyone with any new ideas how to not avoid that.

Even Gov. John Bel Edwards is getting worried. He met privately with Republican House and Senate leaders Wednesday morning. The governor is frustrated that for a few days in a row, the House has delayed voting on a couple of major tax increases- the cigarette and alcohol taxes.

Edwards said the delay is keeping leaders far away from closing the $940 million deficit. The uneasiness seems to filtering all the way down to lawmakers in their first term. However, some of the bigger players in the legislature are not lacking confidence.

"I'm a little apprehensive," State Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall, said. "I, like most of us, want to get this fixed as well as we can. A lot of questions, very few answers."

"I've seen regular sessions last two-and-a-half months come together in the last five days or the last two days or the last two hours," State Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Bastrop, added. "I'm looking forward to that with this session."

Jackson's penny increase to the sales tax bill awaits a vote one more time in the House.

That vote will also not happen Wednesday afternoon.

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