Two budget plans were approved by Louisiana House Appropriations Committee on May 29 after Representative Cameron Henry threatened to halt any budget proposal before the special session of the Legislature terminates in six days. Henry, an elected Republican from Metairie, filed the budget proposal distributed over four dissimilar bills on May 29 after he declined to do the same during the special session which began in the third week of May.
Disagreements are fairly common between the Senate and House when it comes to priorities expressed in the budget. A lack of a common view is also common when it comes to tax revenue collection. All such disunity slows down any negotiating processes.
Representative Henry sponsored one budget plan which was subsequently approved by the select House Appropriations Committee. Walt Leger, an elected Democrat from New Orleans, was behind the second proposal which the committee sent to House floor. It is expected that a full house will contemplate both plans on May 31.
Henry was told by a number of House Republicans that they would support a budget plan created by Democrats if he did not file a bill by May 29. Those Representatives were unwilling to return for another special session simply to pass the spending plan of the state. Louisiana had two special sessions already in 2018.
The Louisiana Legislature now encounters a tough timeline to get a consensus at special session ends. If it is assumed that one of the two plans is released from the House on May 31, there will be only four days left for Senate to review proposals. The two chambers will also do the same to reach some sort of compromise. There is an urgent requirement of a budget when the fiscal year begins on the first day of July.
The plan conceptualized by Leger assumed that the Legislature will approve all taxes to the total tune of approximately $643 million from the Louisiana Department of Health. This will sidestep any big reductions to the budget in state programs and services. The budget proposal by Henry will account for about $396 million in the form of new taxes. The House approved the amount on the night of May 28. The budget cut proposed by Henry is inclusive of cuts made from state services to the tune of about $90 million from Louisiana Department of Health.