Gov. John Bel Edwards and Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, gave up efforts to try to raise any more revenue for the state budget Thursday morning (June 23), meaning the Legislature will leave this special session raising less than half of the $600 million Edwards initially requested.Clearly the reactionaries don't care if things get funded. That left it to the Governor to figure out a way to make them care. His idea was, well if we propose TOPS cuts in the budget, then surely they'll work in good faith with us to come together and find more money. But this was never going to work because 1) No one here is acting in good faith. 2) The reactionaries pay no political price whatsoever if TOPS isn't funded. Their next move is to go back to voters and complain about how the Governor is trying to take their scholarship money from them. They will relish the chance to do this, in fact.
Louisiana's budget issues need to be resolved by Thursday at midnight, when the second special session comes to a close.
Alario and Edwards staff said there weren't enough votes in the Louisiana House of Representatives to pass any more tax changes. The Senate leadership and the governor had been pushing to get a reduction in an income tax break through the Legislature over the past week.
It's been clear all year long the reactionaries were going to stay dug in. They dug in over cleaning pennies in the first special session. They dug in over the capital outlay budget during the regular session. They dug in over the income tax measures during this final (?) session. If the Governor, at any time, held a card they actually cared about, things may have gone differently. The Governor thought TOPS would be that card. It wasn't.