Governor delays budget proposal slated for Friday, remains hopeful for a special session

Massive cuts in proposed budget to be announced Monday

Governor John Bel Edwards was supposed to announce his proposal for a very problematic state budget Friday January 19th, but there's another problem: The winter weather has made it difficult for lawmakers to drive from out of town to the Capitol safely. 

Now the announcement will be made Monday. 

"But the budget proposal we will present will be balanced because that's what the constitution requires, it will reflect very deep painful cuts," said Governor Edwards on Thursday. 

And it's an announcement that will attract a lot of attention because those cuts will equal 1 billion dollars, and lawmakers want to know that that looks like up close. 

It's called a "fiscal cliff" and it was created by a temporary sales tax which is set to expire this summer. 

Governor Edwards, a Democrat has suggested a replacement tax, and says he's just waiting on the republican leadership to submit a plan of their own before calling a special session.

A session in which lawmakers can talk about taxes.Raising taxes can't be discussed in regular sessions that coincide with an even numbered year. 

The Governor has said he will not call a special session if the republican leadership and his administration can't reach an agreement in principle. 

"There's absolutely no reason to try and go into a regular session without fixing the cliff first because I can assure you they're not going to pass a budget that makes those painful cuts," said Governor Edwards.

The Governor accuses the Republicans of "Once again, kicking the can down the road." But Republicans call the Governor's plan light on details. 

"That's nonsense, that's absolute nonsense. We told them what we wanted to do, how much money would be raised, and how we would apply that, so there's nothing lacking in my plan around details," said Edwards. 

The Governor hasn't given up though. He says he'll meet with Republicans again on Friday. So a special session is still a possibility.

But that call would have to be made very soon in order to have a special session in March, ahead of the February regular session. 

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