As the Special Session must end Wednesday at midnight, the House and Senate appear on their way to implementing a deal.
Central to that compromise is House Concurrent Resolution 1 by Speaker of the House Taylor Barras (R-New Iberia). The measure would take 3% from certain statutory dedications to help pay state debt - something that isn’t being done now.
“These funds, for at least the last 19 years, have been accustomed to using 100% of their proceeds. This changes it that they will use 97% of their proceeds. But constitutionally, that’s what should have been happening for the last 19 years anyway,” explained Speaker Barras.
Although Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne isn’t a fan of the measure, he asked the Senate Finance committee to move it to the full Senate, “because I think it will facilitate passage of the appropriations bill that will allow us to use $99 million of Rainy Day money to balance the budget.”
And without objection, they did.
Immediately after, House Appropriations met to discuss the Senate version of the Rainy Day resolution authored by Senate President John Alario (R-Westwego).
“We’re trying to find some common ground in submitting to you $99 million which we think is adequate to take care of some basic needs,” said Alario.
That’s $20 million less than the Governor requested, but about $24 million more than the House agreed to.
Referring to Barras' resolution on state debt, Alario said “the Speaker made a great presentation this morning in Senate Finance on a bill that you all were very interested in. Quite frankly, I haven’t been warm to it.”
House Appropriations Chair Cameron Henry (R - Metairie) said the same of the latest Rainy Day resolution.
“99 [million] we’re not warm to yet," Henry stressed, "but we know we need to move this instrument forward so that we can all come up somewhere in between or just work through the process so we can continue moving things."
And so without objection, House Appropriations moved the resolution without action to the House Floor, where it will be taken up as a committee of the whole.