Gov. Edwards: "I can't be both quarterback and receiver" in term - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Gov. Edwards: "I can't be both quarterback and receiver" in terms of solving the budget crisis

(FOX 8 NEWS) (FOX 8 NEWS)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) -

With the legislature's second special session wrapping up, Governor John Bel Edwards is urging lawmakers to resolve the current $600 million dollar shortfall as the state’s money problems appear to be getting worse.

"Obviously, the clock is ticking,” the governor said during a press conference at the state capitol on Friday.

The second special session of the year ends in less than a week and still the budget crisis remains unsolved.

"I've offered plan after plan to help solve this crisis, but the truth is I can't be both quarterback and receiver,” the governor said.

Edwards called lawmakers into another special session moments after the regular session wrapped up on June 6.

He has proposed additional tax hikes that would affect individual taxpayers and businesses to wipe out the rest of the deficit the first special session and the regular session did not erase.

Edwards said the threatened cuts to state services are real.

"In 14 days any deficits from this year and next that the legislature refuses to address will begin to take effect in the form of real cuts and the people are certainly going to feel it,” he said.

The Edwards administration said without additional revenues K-12 education, the higher education system, the popular TOPS scholarship program and state health care services will be cut.

“Nobody wins when people are paying more and getting less," said FOX 8 Political Analyst Mike Sherman.

Taxes were raised in the special session that ended in early March.

Critics of the governor say he has not shown enough leadership during the legislative process, while Edwards accuses house republicans of just being a chorus of “no” to his ideas, without putting forth viable deep cuts to spending since they are averse to more tax hikes.

“What we have right now is not a battle of leadership, but a battle of philosophy ... there's not been a compromise yet between these very different philosophies on how to balance these budget,” Sherman said.

And the budget problem seems to be getting worse. An independent economist who helps to set the revenue forecast for state government says tax collections from the business community are lower than expected for the fiscal year that runs through June 30.

“We likely have an additional $200 million dollar hole in the current year in terms of the revenue that we can expect to come in,” the governor said.

LSU economist Jim Richardson who sits on the state’s revenue estimating conference said this week that business tax collections are below projections for the current fiscal year.

"If the news from the state economist is any indication we're in no way out of the woods,” Edwards said.

Sherman said structural budget reform is desperately needed.

“We need much more significant changes to create a sustainable path forward,” Sherman said.

The special session must end June 23.

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