The Investigators: Special sessions to fix Louisiana's budget co - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

The Investigators: Special sessions to fix Louisiana's budget cost $1.95M

Louisiana State Capitol (Source: WAFB) Louisiana State Capitol (Source: WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Efforts to fix Louisiana's state budget this year ended up costing tax payers more than $1.95 million, according to documents obtained by the 9News Investigators. 

Expenses for the Senate and House carried a combined price tag of $1.3 million during the first special session and more than $600,000 during the second special session. 

An earlier report by the 9News Investigators estimated the special sessions cost at least $1.8 million this year. 

The governor brought lawmakers to Baton Rouge in February for the first special session as part of an effort to fix a $900 million shortfall in the budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year and a projected $2 billion shortfall in the budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. 

After the first special session came to a close, lawmakers left an estimated $600 million hole in the budget for the current fiscal year. As a result, Gov. John Bel Edwards called them in for a second special session in June, where they failed to raise half of the governor’s goal. As a result, they left a more than $300 million hole in this year’s budget

Digging into the numbers, the House ran up expenses totaling $665,099, or about $26,600 per day, during the first special session. Meanwhile, Senate expenses totaled about $651,851. 

During the second special session, House costs totaled $438,911, while Senate expenses totaled $196,083. 

A big chunk of those costs come from daily payments to lawmakers. During the first special session, House per diems had a price tag of $500,666 and the Senate per diems cost $153,075. In the second special session, the House per diems cost $324,778, while the Senate per diems had a $102,521 price tag. 

Printing agendas and bills also cost taxpayers. During the first special session, the House spent $29,101 on printing and the Senate spent $2,884 on printing. During the second special session, the House spent $14,853 on printing. The Senate did not record spending any money on printing during the second special session. 

Overtime for staff as well as payment to student workers and sergeant at arms also carried costs during both sessions. Meanwhile, the House spent more than $10,000 during each special session on refreshments. 

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