State Rep. Gary Carter Jr. Calls for Fiscal Reforms in Response to Special Session Outcome
NEW ORLEANS, LA - In response to the outcome of the first extraordinary legislative session of 2018, State Rep. Gary Carter (D - New Orleans) issued the following statement:
"The Special Session ended last night with no resolution to the $1 Billion fiscal cliff Louisiana faces on July 1, 2018. This fiscal deficit threatens drastic cuts to health and hospital services, higher education (including a 75% cut to TOPS), and senior centers across the state. In addition, Louisiana’s credit rating is at risk of an additional downgrade, meaning that our ability to borrow money for critical state services and capital outlay projects could be more difficult.
"During this special session, a tentative agreement was reached to resolve this state’s deficit. The agreement involved a combination of income tax adjustments, removal of some exemptions from the tax base, and an extension of temporary sales tax. These measures were reflected in House Bills 8 and 23.
"That Agreement collapsed when a small group of Republicans put politics over the people’s business. This small group demanded that the fiscal cliff agreement could only pass and become law if the state of Louisiana made it more difficult for people to have access to health care. They demanded that the Legislature Auditor receive access to the state income tax returns of every Medicaid applicant and recipient in Louisiana, and that the Legislature Auditor audit those individuals for waste, fraud and abuse. They also demanded that every Medicaid recipient prove that they are not “able” to work. Those demands had nothing to do with Louisiana’s $1 Billion fiscal deficit. In addition, their Medicaid demands were vague, ambiguous and perhaps unlawful.
"Those demands were unacceptable and, quite candidly, offensive. Despite being rich in natural resources and culture, Louisiana has economically fallen behind other states that have less natural resources than we do. To press forward, Louisiana should invest in education, health care and economic development. Located at the mouth of the great Mississippi River, we are strategically located to compete with any region in this country. Instead of moving forward together, I am disappointed that this special session ended when a small group’s divisive politics put critical services for the people of this state at risk.
"I remain optimistic that we can solve our immediate financial crisis before the July 1 deadline. I am also calling for a Constitutional Convention to put in place long-term structural reforms needed to put our great state on a path for generational success."