Local delegation reacts to special session ending

Local delegation reacts to special session ending
(Source: WAFB)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - After 15 days of debate, state lawmakers once again came up short to fix the state's budget shortfall Monday night.

Rep. Mark Abraham, R-Lake Charles, said to put yesterday's special session finale in perspective, you'd have to think of chess.

"Republicans and Democrats were in a chess match and the whole board collapsed." Abraham said. "When that happens the real losers are the people of Louisiana."

Abraham said there were two tax bills in particular that left the house divided.

"One bill was going to raise a quarter-cent sales tax and it was also going to do away with some exemptions on sales tax," Abraham said. "We also had an itemized deducted bill which means you would not be able to deduct your state income taxes on your state return."

Rep. Stephen Dwight, R-Lake Charles, blamed a lack of communication as the reason for the division among parties.

"Neither bill could fill the hole by itself and that's kind of where the compromise fell apart."

Dwight proposed one of the tax bills, with the goal of raising sales tax revenue.

"No one wanted to go over their and raise taxes," Dwight said. "But we needed to bring a balanced approach and that included some cuts and some taxes."

"Now our only option is going to be cuts and I think the cuts are going to be drastic."

Some democrats, like Rep. Walt Leger III, D-New Orleans, believed the special session was the time to overhaul the tax rules, so the state does not keep having these budget problems.

"I think it's going to be clear that while we have ways to improve our spending practices we really do have a structural revenue problem that needs to be addressed," Leger said. "And we're gonna have to do it sooner or later."

Abraham said lawmakers will try to cut the regular session short so they can call another special session.

Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.