Governor Jindal’s administration has agreed to finish and release its proposal to overhaul the state’s tax system by the end of next week. In a reversal of the usual power-dynamic, Jindal is now yielding to pressure from legislators.
Speaker of the House Chuck Kleckley, who was hand-picked by the governor sent Jindal an open letter yesterday evening pressing for the release of details of his tax overhaul. He asked that the plan be released to legislators by March 15 so that committees could properly debate it before session starts.
Kleckley said, “We’ve had a lot of discussion about the concepts; now it’s time to get the final plan.” He said the public needs time to see the details and give feedback to the legislature.
Ways and Means Chairman Representative Joel Robideaux has set the first meeting on the topic on March 19th.
The Associated Press is reporting that Jindal agreed to the March 15th deadline within a half hour of the release of the letter.
The overhaul includes eliminating the income tax in favor of raising the sales tax and applying it to more goods and services. How much the rate will increase and what new items that will be taxed is still unknown, but Jindal’s said that the changes will be in a “revenue neutral” manner.
Tim Barfield heads the Department of Revenue, and, as such, is a frontman for the tax proposal. On the Jim Engster Show yesterday morning, before the letter was released, he said the plan isn’t done yet, but it’s close to being finalized and that his office plans to do significant work on it this week.