Louisiana’s deficit-closing special session opens Monday

Louisiana State Capitol

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Louisiana’s lawmakers are returning to Baton Rouge on Monday for a special session aimed at rebalancing a deficit-riddled budget.

They’ll have to decide how deeply they’ll slash state spending to close the $304 million hole.

The main debate will involve whether lawmakers want to use a state savings account as a short-term fix or whether they’ll make larger cuts with a goal of permanently shrinking the footprint of state government.

Gov. John Bel Edwards called the 10-day session to begin Monday at 6:30 p.m. Edwards speaks to a joint gathering of the House and Senate at 7 p.m., outlining his proposals for rebalancing the budget.

Lawmakers can’t raise taxes, but they can increase fees for government services, under the parameters set by Edwards.

The session must end by Feb. 22.

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