BATON ROUGE — Republican House leaders negotiating with Gov. John Bel Edwards on a fix to Louisiana's $1 billion budget gap are hitching tax votes to the governor's support for legislation aimed at curbing state spending.

House Speaker Taylor Barras said he's floated four "budget reform" ideas to the Democratic governor that GOP lawmakers want in any Edwards agenda for a possible February special session on taxes.

Included in the proposals are tighter limits on annual state spending growth and creation of a more transparent system for viewing agency spending. In the Medicaid program, Barras said lawmakers want to charge some patients a copay for health services and prescription drugs and to enact work requirements on certain enrollees in the program.

The items were a focal point in the latest meeting between Edwards and Barras on Friday. While the ideas wouldn't necessarily chip away at the size of next year's budget gap, Barras said they could lower the state's costs long-term.

"Without the reform ideas being part of the agenda, it's going to be difficult to get any significant revenue measures passed," Barras said after the meeting.

Edwards said the House speaker "did make his point that they would expect some movement on what they're calling budgetary reforms in exchange for replacing revenue." The governor said he's open to the ideas, but needs more details on the legislation House Republicans are proposing — and what taxes they would support in exchange.

The conversations are part of ongoing negotiations about how to respond to the loss of about $1 billion in temporary sales taxes enacted by lawmakers that are set to expire July 1 when the new budget year begins.

Edwards wants a tax package passed in a February special session to replace the expiring revenue, but he's been unable to strike a deal with House Republican leaders so far. Edwards said he won't call the session without an "agreement in principle."

If lawmakers want to replace the lost revenue with taxes, that requires a special session, either before the regular session starts March 12 or after it ends June 4. Otherwise, they'll have to slash spending. No one's offered a plan for removing $1 billion from the budget. Edwards will offer a version of what those cuts could look like Monday.

After Friday's meeting, the governor declared himself "not totally without hope" that a deal could be struck. But he added: "We still have a long way to go."

Both Edwards and Barras said they believe it would be more responsible to debate taxes in February, so lawmakers know how much money they will have in the 2018-19 budget they'll craft in the regular legislative session.

But tax votes have been difficult to get from Republicans in the House, and some of those who are willing to consider taxes to replace the expiring revenue want commitments they'll get Edwards' backing for their cost-control ideas.

"If he's not willing to consider reform, I won't even consider revenue," said Rep. Jack McFarland, a Winnfield Republican.

The Medicaid ideas seem to be obvious areas where they could find common ground.

The governor backed a Medicaid patient copay bill in 2016. But it fizzled. Critics said it would discourage poor patients to seek needed health services, and health providers opposed copays as the equivalent of cuts to their Medicaid payments because copays are unenforceable.

Meanwhile, Edwards already said earlier this month that he was "actively working" on a proposal to enact some work and educational requirements for certain able-bodied Medicaid recipients. House Republicans want the components of any Edwards request to the federal government for work requirements to be spelled out in legislation.

Critics of work requirements say the restrictions penalize poor people who may be unable to find employment and drive up health costs elsewhere.

Barras said he intends to get a "rough sketch synopsis" of the spending control proposals to the governor within the next several days so the Edwards administration can review them. Another meeting between Edwards and Barras is expected the week of Jan. 29.