Area legislators prepare for special session

LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) – Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edwards, announced Friday to a legislative budget committee that he will hold a special session to address the state’s budget deficit.

Gov. Edwards told members of the house if the deficit reached more than $300 million then he would call a special session.

“We’re looking right now at a mid-year deficit of $304 million,” said State Senator Fred Mills.

Because of it more cuts are looming.

Senator Mills says during the special session, hearings and public testimony will take place to see what’s the most strategic way to cut the budget.

“All potential cuts will be on the board, all agencies, all departments, and not just healthcare and education,” said Senator Mills.

The purpose of the special session is to allow legislators to spread the cuts across the board, however, many are worried that healthcare and higher education will suffer, tremendously.

“Those two entities have been cut for the past 8 years in the previous administration, almost to the point where it affects services,” said State Representative Terry Landry.

State Rep. Landry says higher education can’t afford much more cuts.

“We’ve cut higher-ed to the point that it’s almost unbearable,” said State Rep. Landry. “We’ve raised the cost of education where families can’t afford it, poor people, working people, can’t afford a higher education for their children.”

Both legislators agree they have some tough decisions to make over the next few days–considering the few options of areas in which cuts can be made.

“We’ve had deficits over the last 7 to 8 years, but this is probably one of the first times that the deficit is out there without a lot of different pockets of money to pull from, so I think the cuts will be a little deeper then its been before,” said Senator Mills.

The special session will take place February 13-23.

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