If J.R.R. Tolkien was writing about this session of the Louisiana Legislature, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards would be cast either as hero Bilbao Baggins on a budgetary quest or the power-mad, super-spender Sauron, depending on who is telling the story.

The journey began with Republican House Speaker Taylor Barras’ four-month refusal to accept the Revenue Estimating Conference’s recognition of higher-than-expected revenue collections.

Barras and the Republicans, who incidentally want to defeat Edwards’ reelection bid in October, argue that Louisiana shouldn’t saddle itself with ongoing expenses should the economy turn sour. Edwards wants to spend more to shore up state services.

After Barras earlier this month accepted the higher figure — though not has high as the REC and Edwards first sought — action shifted

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