A motion was made today by Rep. Walt Leger (D-New Orleans), and carried with 53 votes, including 10 Republicans, to spend every dime of the Louisiana budget projections made by the Revenue Estimating Conference. The REC’s fiscal forecasts have been incorrect no less than 16 times in the past nine years, and are almost certain to be wrong again – but nevertheless, the Louisiana budget will be fully based on its current forecast.
Here was the roll call vote…
Those Republicans voting to spend the entire REC projection, and almost assuredly create a midyear budget deficit leading to midyear cuts and, in all likelihood, a special session at which Gov. John Bel Edwards will demand tax increases, were…
J. Rogers Pope
In addition, House Ways And Means Committee chairman Neil Abramson, who is rumored to be pondering a party switch in advance of running for the state Senate in 2019, was a “yes” vote on the budget. And the vote was made when House Appropriations chairman Cameron Henry was not in the chamber.
This vote should be remembered, particularly when the inevitable deficit results. It should also be remembered, as Henry noted in a video released Monday night, when Edwards calls a special session to demand a tax increase to cover that deficit. Henry assessed that as Edwards’ intention all along; creating a crisis situation would likely make the weak Republicans listed above vote for tax hikes just as they voted for an unbalanced budget today.
Upon today’s surrender, it’s expected the current special session will end soon without too many further developments.