On Feb. 9, Gov. John Bel Edwards called his fifth special session in two years to yet again address the state’s fiscal cliff. He previously noted he would not do this without consensus on how to move forward, so this is a signal that there may be enough support to raise or renew taxes to deal with the $994 million budget shortfall, NOLA.com reported. Senate President John Alario, however, noted that there is no firm plan about how to bridge the gap, but just an agreement to proceed in discussions.
Gov. Edwards has control over the types of bills that will be debated during a special session, and he is allowing all the various tax proposals that have been suggested over the past few months as well as several measures that would control spending and increase transparency. In addition to these tax and spending measures, some budget reductions would likely still have to be made, but it’s unclear at this point what is most likely to be cut.
The special session began on Feb. 19 and will run until March 7. The regular legislative session then begins less than a week later, on March 12, and runs until June 4.