Governor Edwards calls for special session to address $1 billion ‘fiscal cliff’

Governor John Bel Edwards speaking at Mercedes-Benz Superdome

BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards has issued a call for a 17-day special session of the Louisiana Legislature to resolve a more than $1 billion “fiscal cliff.”

The session will begin February 19, 2018 and must end no later than March 7, 2018.

The governor’s call includes 17 items that have been discussed as part of his ongoing negotiations with legislative leadership over recent weeks.

The fiscal cliff Louisiana is facing is due to $1.3 billion in revenue expiring on June 30, 2018. Edwards proposed replacing only $994 million of that revenue to ensure higher education, including TOPS, health care, and other priorities are adequately funded.

“There is a growing consensus among lawmakers that the fiscal cliff can and should be addressed in February, and I agree,” said Gov. Edwards.  “This special session will give us the opportunity to make reforms that we all know are needed in Louisiana to stabilize our budget and tax code making it more predictable and fair for Louisiana taxpayers.  We are changing the status quo in Louisiana.”

Gov. Edwards’ plan does not call for any net new revenue; instead, his plan includes the recommendations of the legislatively created Task Force on Structural Changes in Budget & Tax Policy to reform the system and replace the temporary measures enacted in 2015 and 2016 with a new, permanent structure.