A tax system revamp for Louisiana is in the works with one overall goal: lowering rates

BY MARK BALLARD | CAPITOL BUREAU EDITOR
Though facing a nearly $1 billion revenue shortfall, a number of state lawmakers are putting together legislation that would restructure how Louisiana taxes people and businesses with an overall goal of lowering rates on income taxes.

Political leaders have been talking about the need for revamping the state’s tax system for decades. But legislators – some working independently, others working in a team – say this year’s efforts could succeed at changing the archaic structure of high initial rates but low collections because of myriad breaks and exemptions.

“People across the political spectrum can agree that Louisiana’s tax system needs a lot of help,” said Jan Moller, head of the Louisiana Budget Project, a Baton Rouge research group that advocates policies for low and middle-income people. “A lot of the ideas are no brainers. We agree in general. But it’s the details, it’s always the details.”

Traditional thinking is that tax revamps can only happen during a fiscal session, so only odd numbered years, and only in nonelection years. 2017 was a missed opportunity. 2019 was a year when all legislators and all statewide officials, including the governor, are elected. 2023 will be the next state election year. That means 2021 is perhaps the only chance for the next few years.

“All the arrows are pointing to this session for something to happen. Whether it succeeds nobody knows. Tax reform is really hard,” said Robert Scott, the head of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, a Baton Rouge policy research group known as PAR.

“I don’t have crystal ball,” said state … Continue Reading Full Story >>>

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