The question of what to do with tax exemptions will be central during the 60-day regular session — which began its second week Monday — with lawmakers needing to figure out how to solve next year's fiscal cliff caused by the expiration of a temporary one-cent increase in the state sales tax as well as a host of temporary tax breaks."Anti-spending conservative" lawmakers don't actually care what gets cut and how badly as long as they don't have to do the cutting themselves. They're just there to protect the exemptions and privileges that benefit their narrow constituencies. If they leave a big hole in the budget, the governor has to fix it. If they refuse to find him any revenue, he has to cut everything. There's really no way for them to lose this game.
No one — not even anti-spending conservatives — has put forth a credible plan to end the fiscal cliff through spending cuts alone in the $9.5 billion part of the budget financed by state taxes, royalties and fees.
Edwards has proposed making up $800 to $900 million of the fiscal cliff by having the state impose a corporate tax on sales, a plan that business lobbyists oppose and that has found little favor among legislators.
Update: John Bel is giving the commencement address at LSU next month. I guess by that point he can talk about why the fiscal cliff is making him close the university and sell the land to Exxon or somebody. Will be some good "optics" there, for sure.