When three members of the Capitol Press Corps’ best gathered for a panel discussion at the Council for a Better Louisiana’s annual meeting, they tried to answer one of state government’s most burning questions: What’s going to happen with the fiscal cliff?
“So far, no solutions,” observed Greg Hilburn, with Gannett News Service.
Jeremy Alford with lapolitics.com ran down a list of who is doing what.
“On the House side, you have Democrats meeting privately; you have Republicans meeting privately; you have two different work groups; you have another third workgroup that’s working with the administration and the Senate,” Alford said, ticking of each group on his fingers. “The Governor is looking at the House to present something. The House is looking at the Governor. The Senate’s wondering what they’re going to be able to do.”
“They seem to be in a perpetual cycle of indecision, and it’s the same cycle: rinse, wash, repeat,” said Melinda Deslatte with Associated Press.
Alford says the bottleneck is clearly caused by one group on one side of the building.
“House Republicans keep talking about spending reductions and structural budget changes and what does that mean?”
Deslatte chimed in, in agreement.
“We’ve not seen anybody present a plan of how to make a billion dollars in cuts,” she said, noting in addition, “And the House Speaker has actually said that he doesn’t see a way to go the whole way with just cuts only.”
But Deslatte also reminded the audience one version of how to cut a billion budget bucks is definitely coming within the next 60 days.
“We’re about to see what that looks like because the governor’s executive budget is due. And he’s going to have to present it as though there are no taxes that are getting passed or renewed or anything else.”
The reporters were asked about a special session – when or if to expect it?
“To institute maximum leverage, I think the governor will put it in June,” Hilburn said.
“I wouldn’t worry about your Mardi Gras plans being disrupted in any fashion,” Deslatte added, getting a chuckle from Alford.
“We will have a special session,” Alford stated, adding, “And it probably won’t be very special at all.”