tax increases

courtesy: okhouse.gov

Louisiana’s lawmakers may have proven resistant to tax increase proposals, but they're always asking, “What are other states doing?”

Thanks to the NPR State Governance Project (in which Capitol Access’s reporters participate), Joe Wertz of State Impact Oklahoma can tell us.


Sue Lincoln

“The best thing you can do for a stable funding for government is to have a well-balanced stool,” says state Representative Julie Stokes, who is also a certified public accountant.

But when your budget – your stool -- doesn’t balance, what do you do?

Sue Lincoln

One day after officially announcing he’s a candidate for U.S. Senate, state Treasurer John Kennedy addressed a luncheon meeting of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. As usual, his speech was colorful.

“If we keep losing bright young men and women to Dallas and Atlanta, the average age in Louisiana is going to be deceased,” Kennedy observed.

But is what Kennedy says accurate, or is he just stirring the pot? Let’s look at one of his favorite talking points.

The House spent much of Tuesday giving the Senate the finger.

“Which finger?” Speaker Chuck Kleckley joked at one point.

Although House members did concur with Senate amendments on some bills, when it came to the revenue raising measures — seven bills in the so-called “tax package” — the House rejected what the Senate had done.

Some rejections, like the cigarette tax increase, were tough. The author of that bill, Rep. Hal Ritchie, made a plea for the members to agree with raising the cigarette tax to $1.08 per pack, instead of the $0.68 per pack the House had okayed.

The Senate Revenue and Affairs Committee met Monday to consider the eleven tax bills approved by the full House on May 7th. It quickly became apparent that Chairman Neil Riser had a strategy for dealing with them: just move them along.

“Any objection? Hearing none, that bill will be reported favorable. Next bill,” Riser steadily announced.

No amendments were offered for any of the revenue-raising bills, and while numerous people put in cards either supporting or objecting to the bills, public testimony was limited.

These bills also face hearings before the Senate Finance Committee, prompting Baton Rouge Senator Sharon Weston-Broome to observe, “It appears that people are forfeiting their opportunity to speak today, to wait for Senate Finance.”

The Louisiana survey takes the pulse of the people every year about major policy issues facing the state. LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab has been rolling out the results of this year’s edition.

Research Director Michael Henderson agrees public opinion is leaving lawmakers between a rock and a hard place when it comes to closing the state budget hole. As for state services, the public gives the colleges and universities particularly high marks. And though a majority still opposes it, there's slowly growing acceptance of same-sex marriage.