La. session kicks off with governor’s State of the State address
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The first day of the 2021 legislative session followed tradition with the governor giving his State of the State address on Monday, April 12.
This year, Gov. John Bel Edwards delivered the address at Southern University instead of the Louisiana State Capitol.
“This is not typically how I deliver my opening speech for session, but then again, this has not been a typical year,” said Edwards.
The governor began his opening remarks recognizing a number of healthcare and frontline workers who continue to play a key role in combating COVID-19. He reflected on the tough year that’s now behind the state and how everyone has had to reinvent ways of socializing and doing their jobs.
“So, this legislative session let us challenge ourselves to envision new ways of making Louisiana better for all of our citizens,” Edwards added.
But then, it got into the nitty-gritty where he laid out his priority to improve the state’s education system and the pay that those workers receive. His budget would increase the pay of K through 12 and college educators. But it doesn’t stop there.
“It also includes funds for the TOPS program, which is estimated to receive $13 million this year and it includes a historic $11 million increase in funding for Go Grants,” the governor explained.
Another topic that came up was the minimum wage, which has been at $7.25 since 2009 and Gov. Edwards said he will support any and all efforts to raise that number.
“My message to the legislature is simple: pass a bill, get it on my desk, I’ll sign it,” Edwards stated.
And to wrap it up, he mentioned Louisiana has four years before that extra sales tax citizens pay goes away. The governor said he’s open to looking at tax reform but can’t get lost along the way with exemptions, credits, and loopholes.
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It’s an idea House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, supports.
“I can tell you I’m anxious to see how we support and embrace tax reform moving forward,” said Schexnayder.
The governor ended his address by reminding people that at the end of the day, it’s the people of our state that make it shine bright.
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