The Louisiana House of Representatives held an official "fiscal note review" meeting to challenge its economist's revenue estimates of the three bills Friday morning (Feb. 26). It was the first meeting of that kind that had ever been called in the history of the Legislature.Not sure where Abramson and the Republican conspiracy theorists he was humoring were back when Bobby Jindal routinely selling them one wrecked budget after another resolved with one-time money and various crimes against accounting such as last year's SAVE act.
"I know no one wants to make votes where we have to tax people more than we have to," said Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, at the meeting.
But at the meeting Friday morning, Abramson and one other House member also implied the state economists -- who are supposed to provide nonpartisan analysis -- could be manipulating numbers because of politics.Maybe they're just confused. Usually they're being told a lie about how much money there is and therefore still needs to be cut out and/or given away to cronies and "job creators." Instead they're being told there isn't any money at all. Better go cut something anyway.
"Sometimes members may feel that there is pressure to have these notes either be high or low based on who's on the fourth floor," said Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie. "And at the end of the day, we need to make sure the numbers are accurate."
By the "fourth floor", Henry meant the fourth floor of the Capitol, where the governor's office is located. In a follow up interview, Henry said he wasn't singling out Gov. John Bel Edwards for exerting political pressure on the fiscal office necessarily. He meant any governor sitting on the fourth floor, including former Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Even House members have acknowledged some of their proposed cuts aren’t workable. A more than $50 million reduction to the education department threatens to shutter the agency.It's a short session, guys. Sooner or later some actual work has to happen.
“That was not a serious proposal,” Edwards said.
He said if Republicans don’t agree to more taxes, they must offer a complete package of cuts.
“If they’re not prepared to do that, then they’re not being constructive,” the governor said.