NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO)- Wednesday, July 1 marks the new fiscal year for Louisiana and the end to another special session. With only a few hours left on the clock, lawmakers were down to the wire finalizing the budget.
With only a day to spare, Louisiana lawmakers are finished with their 30-day special session. Closing the books, after awarding millions of dollars in tax breaks to businesses and completing Louisiana’s budget a day before it takes effect.
“Here what we can do. We can vow together that we will stand together and out hope back in front of our people,” said Rep. Rick Edmonds, (R) Baton Rouge.
Hopeful that a $34 billion dollar budget keeps Louisiana going, the House and Senate unanimously approved the state budget.
“If you look at the budget, I think we have done as best we can working to both support the people who are in need but also helping the businesses to employ those people to get the economy back on track,” shared Rep. Jerome Zeringue, (R) Houma, House Appropriations Committee.
While that large sum of money sounds reassuring, there are concerns. Lawmakers are using federal virus aid to stop deep cuts and to fill the holes-in the budget.
The problem with that is, they’re banking on state tax collectors to rebound from the virus outbreak but, if that doesn’t happen, Louisiana could face major money issues.
“When you are taking revenue out and don’t have a solid plan to replace that revenue, you’re definitely looking at something being cut,” announced Rep. Sam Jenkins, (D) Shreveport.
Other hot button topics taken care of are, shielding K-12 schools and colleges from most civil lawsuits, if a student or teacher contracts Covid-19.
If you’re an essential worker, a $250 check could be heading your way. If you worked 200 plus hours on the front line and you make less than $50,000, you qualify.
Turning the page to another issue, black lawmakers successfully created a task force to study police training, misconduct and racial bias. Starting in July, the task force will collect data and report it back to the legislature Feburary 1.
Finalizing the budget concludes the special session.