Baton Rouge, Louisiana – Governor John Bel Edwards on Friday vetoed a budget submitted by the Louisiana Legislature which fully funded all essential state programs.
The first-term Democrat is seeking an additional $500M in taxes to replace temporary taxes previously passed that are set to expire in June. The vetoed bill covered 70 percent of TOPS.
The Governor preemptively called for the second special session of the year, giving State Representatives and Senators just 3 days before starting over from scratch.
Democratic Caucus Chairman Robert Johnson said, “This House GOP pushed an immoral document out of the Legislature which had to be vetoed.”
When asked why he vetoed the $28 billion budget, Edwards said:
“It’s catastrophic… Why would we pretend any longer that that was an adequate budget document?”
Some conservative legislators have been especially strong-willed in the face of overwhelming pressure from the Governor and his political machine which included letters sent to their constituents laying blame for potential cuts to medicaid and medical schools. The vetoed budget fully funded both.
Governor Edwards even sent warning letters to 20,000 elderly citizens stating that their state-sponsored nursing home care could be at risk.
The controversial letters have since been defended by both Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne and Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee who said, “Those letters were written to give full transparency to those who are at risk for a life and health upheaval, and we have been busy since they were mailed.”
The exaggerated threats from the Governor are reminiscent of 2 years ago when he threatened, of all things, the end of LSU football.
In a press conference, one Republican leader said, “Our focus was always on Louisiana, on Louisiana families.”
John Bel Edwards continues to push his agenda in the media, authoring two op-eds entitled “Now Is The Time To Fix Louisiana’s Problems” and “Another Temporary Fix On Louisiana’s Budget Isn’t Good Enough”.