tax reform

All four bills seeking to increase taxes on tobacco products in the state have been voluntarily tabled amid legislative opposition to raising taxes.

After the legislature tabled all tax repeal bills, the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus ditched the parts of its tax package that would cut taxes. But it’s keeping the part that raises revenue.

Representative Katrina Jackson leads the caucus. She says under her plan, the funds from raising the tobacco tax would be dedicated. “It starts making the areas of higher education systems whole, and the area of health care as well,” Jackson said.

Last week Governor Bobby Jindal announced his main priority this session would be repealing the income tax. Lawmakers took that off of the table on Monday.

Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Representative Joel Robideaux, said he’d spoken with constituents, House leadership, and policy analysts. There’s little support for bills that repeal the income tax without making up the revenue. “As a result of my conversations and review of the analysis," Robideaux said, "I would prefer if we indefinitely shelve bills to repeal the income tax. It’s a difficult, but I believe necessary measure.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal went before the legislature Thursday to unveil his tax proposal. He wants to eliminate the income tax and says the state can make up the gap with a higher and more expansive sales tax.

The proposal would make Louisiana the state with the highest sales tax in the nation. Combined with local sales taxes, Louisianians would pay an average of 10.75 percent in sales tax. And the state would start taxing things that haven’t been taxed before – like landscaping, haircuts, and cable and Internet services.

Louisiana House of Representatives

 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.

flickr.com/idiolector/

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are voicing their skepticism of Governor Bobby Jindal’s tax overhauls. The forum this morning: an annual pre-session briefing hosted by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

Jim Patterson of LABI kicked off the presentation with what he’s heard from legislators about their private talks with Governor regarding his still unreleased tax overhauls. "[Gov. Jindal] does want to conform the local sales tax base to the state tax base," Patterson said. "This will help local governments to absorb what are going to be some relegation of services by the state to them.


Governor Bobby Jindal wants to eliminate the state income tax and make up for the lost revenue by increasing state sales taxes. He is seeking money to run a media campaign in support of his proposal.

But Louisianians are not likely to be asked to vote on the tax reforms until late 2014. So why lobby support from the general public now?  

WRKF’s Ashley Westerman put that question to LSU professor and director of the Manship School’s Public Policy Research Lab Kirby Goidel.


Gage Skidmore

Governor Bobby Jindal held an impromptu press conference at a ceremony at the Governor's Mansion honoring the longest-married couples in Louisiana on Valentine’s Day.

When reporters asked about the polls released by the Louisiana Medical Society and Public Policy Polling, which showed approval of the governor below 50 percent, Jindal shrugged off the numbers.


Geierunite / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Bobby Jindal's tax reform proposals may include raising the tobacco excise tax. Health officials have suggested raising the tax by a dollar per pack. A study shows raising the tax by that much would raise $223 million a year – that’s almost enough to have closed this year’s $240 million budget gap. 

Jindal has said his tax reforms would be revenue neutral, replacing the income tax with higher sales tax.

Former state legislator, gubernatorial candidate and current Chairman of the Public Service Commission Foster Campbell will discuss Governor Jindal's tax reform proposals for this year's legislative session, and other matters on Mr. Campbell's mind.

A discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, forty years later, with Sally Campbell, former head of the Louisiana Christian Coalition and Reverend Chris Andrews.


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