A Special Session Compromise Breaks Gridlock In Baton Rouge
At the end of a marathon week in Baton Rouge, the Louisiana House appears to have broken their Special Session gridlock to come to a compromise to fund the state government.
After lengthy debates over whether the state should retain .5% of a penny, or .33% of a penny in sales tax, the State House was able to pass a measure to retain .45% of a penny in expiring sales tax. This penny-percentage in sales tax, in addition to other cuts and budget adjustments, appears to be enough to fully fund the state's government, including some at-risk programs.
It appears this revenue will be enough to prevent cuts to both higher education, and the TOPS scholarship program for at least the next fiscal year.
The .45% of a penny sales tax will exist through mid-2025.
During this run of Special Sessions, Democrats in the House have pushed for a .5% of a penny renewal, while Republicans in the House battled for either .3% or no renewal at all. One of the biggest road blocks in this Special Session trilogy was a group in the House nicknamed the "Caucus of No", who explicitly sabotaged the final moments of the second Special Session on the House floor. However during this third Special Session, a super-majority of both Republicans and Democrats comprised at .45% of a penny.
This latest proposal was put forth by Baton Rouge Republican Paula Davis, who thanked her colleagues that came together on this plan, while on the House floor.
The measure needed 70 votes to pass and it got 74.
After the vote on the .45% of a penny, the House voted on the companion spending bill to create the State's budget.
Now it will be up to the State Senate, and Governor John Bel Edwards, to vote and sign this bill to end the Special Sessions, and fully fund the State Government for the next fiscal year.