Partisan Posturing, or Budget Game of Chicken?

Feb 1, 2016

Credit Creative Commons

Louisiana’s Democratic governor is revving his engines,  responding to Republicans revving theirs.

“It is time to stop living in Fantasyland. It is time to stop pretending things are better than they are,” Governor John Bel Edwards says in response to statements made by Republican lawmakers as well as the state Republican Party.

Last week, Republican Senator Jack Donahue, the former chair of the Senate Finance committee, intimated the budget shortfall is fiction since the revenue estimating conference has yet to recognize it.

“Right now, it doesn’t exist,” he said during a briefing on the current budget situation.

And the LA GOP issued a statement that basically called the governor a liar for – quote – “a plan to balance the state budget entirely with tax increases.”

But Edwards says, “The proposals that I made are different than I talked about in the election because the facts are different. The fact is, this is the eighth straight year of revenue shortfall. All of the relatively easy things to do in terms of cuts were done a long time ago.”

Many are criticizing the doomsday scenarios for cuts released by Higher Ed and DHH. DHH proposals include ending waiver services for children with disabilities.

“There are certain things that we are not absolutely obligated to do under CMS rules when it comes to the Medicaid program,” the Governor explains. “And when you take a look at the numbers that we may have to accommodate in terms of cuts, you have to start with those things that you’re not obligated to do under law. But those are very essential and vital services.”

He adds: “I want everyone to understand: John Bel Edwards does not want to implement those cuts.”

Yet it appears this game of chicken could be escalating. Several sources inform us that Republican House members are planning a motion to adjourn, right after the special legislative session is convened.