Gov. Edwards says he will call for special session to fix budget shortfall

(AP Photo/Molly Riley)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – Gov. John Bel Edwards said he will call for a special session to address Louisiana’s budget woes.

The special session would take place between February 13 and February 23.

Edwards made the announcement during an appearance Friday before the state’s legislative budget committee.

The latest projections have the state short $304 million for the fiscal year ending on June 30.

The governor said his plan to address the budget does not include new taxes or fees, but does require the use of the “rainy day” fund.

It also includes cuts to state agencies, including the Department of Health, though the governor said they aimed to avoid cuts to healthcare waivers that help the disabled and elderly.

The governor said the special session would allow them to spread the cuts around so as to not be “catastrophic” to higher education and healthcare.

Last week, Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, unveiled a plan to fix the budget that he says would not require a special session. It included cuts to hospitals and no use of the “rainy day” fund.

That plan was pegged as irresponsible by the governor’s office, saying it would put the state’s contracts with hospitals that treat the uninsured in jeopardy.

This story will be updated as more details are released.

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