Analyst: 'Rainy Day' fund will be most contentious issue during special session

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana lawmakers are getting ready for their third special session under Gov. John Bel Edwards, who's been in office for just over a year now.

The 10-day period starts Monday and the state legislature has one mission - to solve Louisiana's $300 million budget shortfall.

Political analyst Jim Engster said it's going to be a tough task. The governor's plan is simple on paper. It calls for $60 million in cuts, but no tax increases. Engster said that will really help get Republicans on board.

However, Edwards also wants to pull roughly $120 million from Louisiana's account that is only supposed to be used in dire situations. According to Engster, that move could cause friction.

"This is something that is set aside for emergencies," Engster said. "And the question for some lawmakers is whether this is an emergency. And this is a Democratic governor working with a Republican legislature and it'll take two-thirds votes to get this accomplished in the House and the Senate."

But the special session is only the beginning and Engster added he's more interested in the regular session, which starts on April 10.

He said if the legislature does not accept Edwards's plan, it will make things much more complicated come springtime.

"We're going to have quite a chess game that comes in April and beyond when the regular session begins. And what happens in the next 10 days is a dress rehearsal for what will occur during the regular session," Engster explained.

The regular session is scheduled to end on June 8.

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