Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Countdown to Shutdown

Cameron has decided we're gonna at least push this to another special session. That's pretty much what this is about.
Henry said he hasn't filed a budget proposal, in part, because he didn't think the Legislature should start to vote on a budget "until we know exactly much money we have." Nailing down exactly how much money might be available to be spent could take a few more days, as the tax bills continue to move through the legislative process. By that time, it would be too late to move a budget bill in this special session -- and a third special session for the Legislature this year would be needed to finish up the budget process.

"At this point, I'm trying to find a way around it," said Henry, of a third special session. He mentioned he is working with Attorney General Jeff Landry and State Treasurer John Schroder, both Republicans, on a strategy for speeding up budget approval.

Henry also said a replacement budget bill will would require the House Appropriations Committee to hold another round of budget hearings and public testimony, which typically takes a few weeks. The Legislature has moved budget bills in special sessions previously without going through the whole budget hearing process over again.
Ha ha ha  "working with" Landry and Shroder. OOKAY.

Yesterday they spent the holiday afternoon passing Lance Harris's crappy sales tax bill plus a bill by Katrina Jackson that will limit on income tax deductions. Those tell us we will have some money although they aren't going to be enough money.  In any case, it's more money than was in the "pretend" budget the Governor just vetoed so you'd think it would be time to start making the new one.

But that logic only applies if you assume everyone here is acting in good faith toward the goal of averting the pain of the fast approaching fiscal cliff.  And if that is still your assumption by this point, you really haven't been paying attention. Thus the passage of the revenue bills didn't jump start the budget process at all and instead touched off a farce concluding in a stubborn troll move by Henry to call a vote on overriding the Governor's veto. This is from Sue Lincoln's account of that bit of theater.
“I call HB 1 for a veto override,” he said. “I know we’re all desperate to go home, and I’m with you. We override; we can have a budget; and we can supplement it with another bill. If y’all are so concerned about not having a budget, we can have one right now.”

Rep. Sam Jones rose to question the chairman.

“This seems like a reaction to the previously heated debate. Are you sure this is what you want to do?”

“It makes it all easier,” Henry replied. “It’s what I’ve been working on for the last several days – trying to work around having to do the full $30-billion budget again.”

“You said earlier you’ve been meeting with the Treasurer and the A.G. Have you discussed this at all with the administration or the Senate?” Jones asked.

“No, I haven’t talked to the administration in oh…four months,” Henry said blythely.

“Was this your plan all along?” Rep. Major Thibaut asked, clearly stunned at the malicious turn the discussions had taken. “You said you’re ready to get home. I’m ready to do the people’s business!”

Next, Leger rose, and Henry turned away, announcing loudly, “I’m going to stop answering questions. Let’s vote.”

And they did, 52-48 in favor of a motion that required 70 votes to pass.
So, long story short, there's still no budget and it's looking like there won't be one.  Which again raises the question, what are we gonna do during the shutdown?  Back in March we were still thinking about doing a crawfish boil on the Capitol grounds but the season has already peaked. Surely some sort of picnic is in order.  This week, Step Up and The Poor People's Campaign are already doing some demonstrations. A shutdown might be an opportunity to ramp that up a bit.  

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