House spurns attempt to unlock Louisiana budget restrictions

Axe the Tax event held at Rende's Quick Stop in Baton Rouge

Axe the Tax event held at Rende's Quick Stop in Baton Rouge

The five bills passed by the House were aimed at getting non-violent offenders out of prison and reducing recidivism, making sure they don't come back.

The Republican who leads the House budget committee, Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry, said he expects the House and Senate will reach an agreement on the operating budget bill Henry handles.

The governor referred to the House plan as a "non-starter" and threatened to veto such a proposal, sending lawmakers into a special session.

Special session parameters will include debate over Louisiana's operating and construction budgets, but not taxes.

Disagreement between the House and Senate about next year's spending isn't the only outstanding dispute to be settled, to avoid a special session.

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"The House simply listened to the citizens of Louisiana and refused to raise taxes again", John Kay, Louisiana state director of Americans for Prosperity, said in a statement. House Bill 2, by state Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, deals with the capital outlay budget, which prioritizes and authorizes state construction projects.

Meanwhile, a dispute between House Republicans and Democrats has stalled a construction financing bill. The Legislature can not raise revenue in the special session, either.

The Senate plan would also cover healthcare and Zika virus prevention, but cuts mental health care funding for children adults.

Gov. Edwards lauded the Senate bill as a "responsible approach to state spending".

In addition to supporting the recommendations of a bipartisan task force created by the legislature, which spent more than 125 hours studying the state's budgeting practices and how to reform Louisiana's broken tax and budget structure, Gov. Edwards offered a comprehensive plan to the legislature as an alternative to the task force recommendations. "Therefore, the additional time could be necessary", Edwards said.

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The special session will not address the "fiscal cliff" set to hit in July, when $1.3 billion of temporary taxes expire.

However, some Republicans also took to the floor of the House, adamantly declaring the group did not influence their vote.

Steve Carter announced that he won't pursue the tax hike in the remaining days of the legislative session that ends June 8, saying he couldn't gather the 70 votes needed in the House for the effort to raise hundreds of millions annually for road and bridge work.

"We used the money the House left out to fill in the voids", Erdey said.

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