BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - In a news conference immediately following the close of the special session on Wednesday, the governor said he is deeply disappointed by the progress of Louisiana lawmakers.
"We could have done better. It is not a good day for the state of Louisiana," Gov. John Bel Edwards said. "We didn't do a very good job over these last three weeks and thank goodness I gave them the extra four days because it seemed like they needed every single minute to get where we are."
Through a patchwork of cuts, one-time fixes and tax increases, legislators were able to shave down the current year's budget shortfall to $30 million. However, next year's budget gap, while not at the original $2 billion, remains a staggering $800 million short.
The governor blames a lack of urgency among lawmakers.
"Too much complacency, too much of a lackadaisical attitude and quite frankly I'll go back to where I was last week. We have too many members who refuse to lead, to follow or get out of the way," Edwards added.
Some like Rep. Pat Smith, D-Baton Rouge, who witnessed the work firsthand point to other issues for sluggish performance.
"A lot of newbies," Smith said. "A lot of new individuals who came in here who I guess decided that they would not see any new revenue come into the state and unfortunately they're hurting their own people."
With the special session in the books, the governor vowed the work to fix the state's finances was far from finished.
"I am committed as ever as governor to make sure that I continue to work so that we can take care of the people's business," Edwards said.
The work continues Monday with the start of the regular session.
Edwards said he hopes lawmakers will come to the table with a more unified and focused attitude.