Friday, October 06, 2006
State budget surplus to fuel insurance relief
Blanco: 'Hundreds of millions' coming
By Robert Travis Scott
BATON ROUGE -- After months of mounting pressure from state lawmakers to give relief to homeowners burdened with higher insurance rates to pay for hurricane recovery, Gov. Kathleen Blanco on Thursday pledged "hundreds of millions of dollars" to policyholders from an expected state budget surplus.
"She sees the train rolling, and now she wants to jump in front of it and call herself the conductor," said Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson.
Members of the Legislative Black Caucus and the Republican Legislative Delegation have been working together to gather enough votes to call a special session of the Legislature to address insurance and housing issues, including insurance rate relief.
Rep. Jim Tucker, R-Algiers, who is co-chairman of the Republican Legislative Delegation, said enough House members had been lined up to call a special session and that work was under way to get enough votes in the Senate.
In the regular session that ended in June, Republicans unsuccessfully attempted to amend the appropriations bill to make a similar move to what Blanco called for Thursday.
"We've been fighting to do this for months," Tucker said. "So we're glad she's finally on board."