Are you keeping your New Year's resolutions?|
Story Archives: Thompson on budget: work yet to be done
|Thompson on budget: work yet to be done|
With just two weeks left in the regular session of the state Legislature, Sen. Francis Thompson said lawmakers have their work cut out for them.
Gov. Bobby Jindal announced over the weekend he will veto more than $300 million contained in the state's budget bills because of "contingencies" -- or the need to pass other bills for the money to be collected.
The budget approved by the Legislature contains spending tied to a number of bills, including Senate Bill 335 by Shreveport democrat Lydia Jackson.
Jindal said he will veto those funds because the failure of one of the bills to become law would place the state into economic turmoil.
Thompson said lawmakers will have time to pass new laws to cover the vetoed expenditures, but only if they work fast.
"There are a lot of different options that we have," said Thompson, D-Delhi. "Of course, we have to make sure we do all of this before the close of the Legislature."
Thompson said that means lawmakers will need to have bills in conference committee by Monday if they want the bills to pass before the session closes next week.
Thompson said one proposal that will resurface in a new form is Jackson's proposal to delay implementation of a tax break for some Louisiana taxpayers.
Under terms of the proposal, the state would delay implementation of tax reductions approved last year to allow 100 percent deductibility of itemized charitable donations.
The reductions were a key component to rolling back the so-called "Stelly Tax," during the last regular session.
Jindal has repeatedly said he will veto any delays in tax breaks and will also veto any tax increases.
Despite that threat, Thompson said senators will amend legislation sent over from the House of Representatives to include Jackson's proposal.
Thompson said senators appreciate the governor's position on Jackson's proposal, but the Senate is there to do a job.
"We are a separate branch of government," Thompson said. "We all have to function the way we feel is best.
Amending existing legislation to include Jackson's proposal comes as an attempt to overcome constitutional hurdles to the original bill.
Last week, House speaker Jim Tucker refused to assign SB-335 to committee because all tax and revenue proposals must originate in the House, according to the state constitution.
"We're going to give him some more legislation that will be coming over where there will not be a question of constitutionality," Thompson said. "They'll have another opportunity to look at 335."