Gov. Edwards calls second special session to fix budget shortfall

Gov. Edwards calls second special session to fix budget shortfall

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a call Friday for a second special session of the Louisiana legislature.

The second special session will start on at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June, 6 and will end by midnight on Thursday, June 23.

Like the first one, this special session will address the budget shortfall, which will be $600 million for the 2016-2017 fiscal year that starts on July 1.

The budget gap for the next fiscal year was originally at $1.9 billion before the first special session.

In April, Edwards talked about the likely possibility of another special session as TOPS, K-12 education, higher education and health care all face serious cuts.

"We have critical priorities in health care, K-12 education, and higher education that need to be funded right away," Edwards said in a statement Friday. "We can't just talk about wanting to fund these programs, we need to act. Delaying this special session would only contribute to the problems our state has faced for far too long."

To fill the budget gap, lawmakers are being asked to look at measures to raise revenue, make changes to tax brackets, and address certain tax credits as well as make some changes to issues that came up at the end of the first special session.

"No one, especially me, likes raising taxes or implementing painful cuts, but we are in a difficult spot living in the aftermath of year of budget gimmicks and tricks," Edwards said. "It is time for all of us to make the tougher, wiser choices now, rather than the easier choices that feel good now but would hurt our state long-term. Doing the right thing will allow us to fund our priorities through 2017 when the legislature will convene and consider a comprehensive restructuring of the state's tax code that will end the practices of sending hard-earned tax dollars to programs that simply aren't benefiting our people."

The first special session started on Sunday, February, 14 and went up until days before the regular session, which started on Monday, March 14. The regular session is set to end on Monday, June 6.

Both special sessions had to be called to address the budget crisis because, by law, taxes can not be handled in this year's regular session.

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