Time for tax reform is here

The Louisiana Legislature meets Monday for the beginning of its 2021 fiscal session with tax reform as its major goal. We have heard tax reform promises before, and lawmakers haven’t delivered. Will they do it now?

Let’s begin by explaining why tax reform is so critical. The conservative Tax Foundation says our statelocal tax burden is 7.6 percent, which ranks Louisiana 45th among the states.

That’s a low tax burden, but the state also ranks 42nd on the foundation’s State Business Climate Index, and that’s bad. Louisiana is among the 10 states that are most unfair to business.

Michael Olivier, president of the Committee of 100 for Economic Development, offered one of the best explanations for what’s wrong with Louisiana’s tax system. Olivier served as secretary of the state Department of Economic Development under the late-Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

Olivier said, “The mark of good, fair tax design is low rates and relatively few deductions. Louisiana has the opposite — high rates and large deductions.”

The Legislature loves to give tax exemptions, exclusions, credits, deductions, reductions and rebates. Rep. Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, wants to eliminate 23 of those tax breaks and lower the income tax rate.

Unfortunately, other legislators want to give more than 23 tax breaks…Continue Reading Full Story >>>

Jim Beam, the retired editor of the American Press, has covered people and politics for more than five decades. Contact him at 337-515-8871 or jbeam@americanpress.com.

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