Gov. Edwards to address citizens before special session

Staff Report

Gov. John Bel Edwards has announced that he will make a special address to the people of Louisiana concerning the state's budget crises. 

The address, which will be aired statewide at 6:30 p.m. on all major network television and radio stations, as well as Louisiana Public Broadcasting (LPB), comes ahead of a three-week special session of the Louisiana Legislature, set to begin Feb. 14.

"The challenges facing Louisiana are so severe, and the risk of doing nothing is so big, that it is important for me to outline these problems directly to the people," Gov. Edwards said. "I promised to be open and transparent with the people of Louisiana and give them the facts, and that's what I intend to do. There are some real consequences if we do not work together to solve the state's financial problems and I want to personally communicate them to the citizens of our state."

During the special legislative session, Gov. Edwards' Administration will present the executive budget. The budget gap, which must be filled by June 30, is an estimated $750 million. In addition, the budget gap for the next fiscal year that begins July 1 is estimated to be $1.9 billion – the largest deficit in Louisiana's history.

The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) is set to meet Feb. 10,  where these numbers are likely to grow. 

In a statement released by Gov. Edwards, the latest budget projections announced by the REC were addressed.

“Louisiana faces an unprecedented budget challenge that, if left unresolved, will devastate state government as we know it and impose unimaginable cuts to higher education, health care and other vital services the state delivers to our citizens,” Gov. Edwards said. “This is a fiscal crisis, the likes of which we have never seen.  We will come through this together, but we have reached the end of the road where cuts alone will work to solve this problem.  We will need to work to find additional revenue to continue delivering the most basic of vital state services. I will address the people of Louisiana directly in a statewide televised address tomorrow evening, and will be asking for constructive engagement from every Louisiana citizen as we prepare to go into special session on Sunday.”