Governor John Bel Edwards has issued the call for a second special session of the Legislature to deal with the $600 million dollar budget deficit for the fiscal year that begins July first.

The special session will kick off at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, June 6, and must wrap by midnight on June 23. Without the special session, K-12 education, higher education, lifesaving health care services, and TOPS will face unnecessary cuts.

The Governor says:

We have critical priorities in health care, K-12 education, and higher education that need to be funded right away. We can’t just talk about wanting to fund these programs, we need to act. Delaying this special session would only contribute to the problems our state has faced for far too long. I have developed a package of proposals that would specifically address our immediate crisis without threatening the programs that the vast majority of the people of Louisiana consider to be important. Now is our chance to make bold decisions will turn this ship in the right direction. I am confident we will garner the support we need to fund state government in a way that’s worthy of the people of our state.

Gov. Edwards’ package of legislation includes several revenue-raising measures.

A complete list of options from the administration is available by clicking here.

The Governor also wants to address a problem with the sales tax enacted earlier this spring. He wants to reinstate the exemption on the state sales tax for food sales by youth organizations, such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts; admissions to athletic and entertainment events for public and private elementary and secondary schools; and meals at schools, universities, nursing homes, and mental institutions; among other items.

The Governor is hoping to stave off cuts to K-12 education, higher education, health care and TOPS funding.

The Governor adds:

There is no question in my mind that these programs are important, but there is simply no way we can adequately fund these priorities with the revenue currently available. No one, especially me, likes raising taxes or implementing painful cuts, but we are in a difficult spot living in the aftermath of years of budget gimmicks and tricks. It is time for all of us to make the tougher, wiser choices now, rather than the easier choices that feel good now but would hurt our state long-term. Doing the right thing will allow us to fund our priorities through 2017 when the legislature will convene and consider a comprehensive restructuring of the state’s tax code that will end the practices of sending hard-earned tax dollars to programs that simply aren’t benefiting our people.

Governor Edwards says the special session is necessary to address the budget crisis because the constitution directs that certain fiscal and tax matters cannot be considered during the current regular session, which ends on June 6.