This week, I sponsored HB 12, which was offered as a compromise to raise the revenue necessary to fund the budget and avoid the fiscal cliff rapidly approaching on June 30, 2018. It passed the Senate nearly unanimously, but it fell six votes shy of the 70 needed to pass in the House. When there was a bipartisan effort to vote on it again, with a strong possibility that it would pass the second time, a small handful of Republican Legislators blocked the vote and ran out the clock, claiming that the Senate and the Governor didn’t offer them a compromise.
Republicans wanted a tax cut
Democrats agreed, and HB 12 offered over $400 Million less revenue than last year
Republicans wanted to reduce the State General Fund
Democrats agreed, and HB 12 reduced it by $200 Million from what would have been a standstill budget
The Governor, the Senate and House Democrats wanted the tax to be permanent
HB 12 offered to make it temporary through 2025
The Governor wanted the budget funded at $650 Million, but Republicans wanted it funded at $400 Million
HB 12 offered to fund it at $507 Million- in the middle
It’s not that there wasn’t a compromise. The compromise was on the table-they just rejected it repeatedly and irresponsibly. Both sides got something, and both sides gave something. It is the give and take that marks a true compromise.
Compromise is the cornerstone of governance in our republic. The simple fact that representatives must come together from diverse constituencies and make decisions based on the common good necessitates compromise in the legislative process-not everyone gets what they want. Compromise is meeting in the middle. Compromise is part of the process.
Now, because just a few people refused to participate in the process and compromise, we have a budget that can’t fund our priorities and contains devastating cuts to higher education, TOPS, district attorneys, sheriffs, the prison system and public safety. We will now enter into the third Special Session of 2018 in order to avoid a government shutdown on July 1, 2018. We face the same fiscal challenges placed before us months ago during the First Special Session. Compromise will once again be on the table. Please call your Legislators and urge them to take it. When extremists win, the people of Louisiana lose.