Lawmakers set to tackle budget for next fiscal year

WWL Newsroom
May 21, 2020 - 10:15 am
State Capitol
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House Appropriations is set to take its first crack at a reworked budget proposal for the fiscal year starting July 1st Thursday morning.

There are less than two weeks left in the regular session and political analyst Bernie Pinsonat believes it is a safe bet that a special session will be needed

“The betting money at the capitol right now is that they are going through the motions. It seems as if the House and Senate want to have a special session where they have more time to deal with the budget,” said Pinsonat.

The regular session ends June 1st and a budget must be passed before July 1st.

Pinsonat says many Republicans are quietly supportive of a special session. He says it would give them a chance to override potential vetoes on tort reform and coastal lawsuits.

“They get to see what the Governor does if they pass these two bills, and if he does veto them then they get another bite at the apple,” said Pinsonat.

Tort reform aimed at lowering auto insurance rates and legislation ending local government lawsuits against the oil and gas companies are likely targets for a potential veto override in the special session.

Pinsonat says the newly inaugurated, more fiscally conservative legislature is also likely to want more time to put their fingerprints on the budget.

“In a special session they will have a lot more time to play with the budget and see what they can cut,” said Pinsonat.

Between federal funding and the use of rainy day funds, the budget deficit for the next fiscal year has shrunk to only 80 million dollars.

That number could rise or fall depending on the economy’s recovery and whether the state receives more federal dollars.

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