At The Ways And Means Committee…Not Much
It was expected we’d have a monster day on taxes at the Louisiana Legislature.
Here was the agenda…
What was debated?
All of the tax bills were deferred. The committee adjourned without doing much of anything.
The video was relatively entertaining nonetheless, though, as Together Louisiana – the newly-formed statewide arm of the Soros-funded and Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation – dragooned dozens of people to descend on the committee to oppose any income tax relief. And their activists filled out “pink cards” in opposition to the tax bills…only to have wasted their time opposing bills which wouldn’t be heard today.
At least most of them didn’t miss work. There is that.
What’s the future of tax reform at present? Nobody really knows. At this point what’s likely is that the various authors of bills to phase out income tax in Louisiana are going to get together in a room and cobble together something they can all agree on, and that will be THE bill.
When that bill gets to the Ways and Means committee, which could be as early as tomorrow but might not happen at all this session, it’s going to be interesting.
UPDATE: Now the conventional wisdom is that tax reform is dead for this year. At least, that’s what Ways and Means chair Joel Robideaux thinks…
“Unless the committee members have a change of heart, I think its probably dead for this session,” Robideaux, R-Lafayette, said.
A couple of things on this. First, for all the pontificating we continue to hear about the importance of an independent legislature it sure seems like without leadership from the Governor nothing will ever get done. And second, the repeal of the income tax – which is something Louisiana badly needs regardless of the bloviations from the Soros crowd – couldn’t possibly have been handled worse than it has been this year, from top to bottom.
A couple of things wouldn’t be a surprise.
First, Tim Barfield is one of the best corporate numbers guys anywhere, and particularly in Louisiana. Without having a push to reform the state’s tax code on his agenda, he’s wasting his time as Louisiana’s Secretary of Revenue. The question is whether he recognizes that and acts accordingly; if he were to say “Screw this, I’m out of here” nobody should be the least bit shocked. Barfield showed with the effort at tax reform that he’s not a politician – which is no indictment of the man, outside of the fact that he’s in the wrong job and he was asked to do something outside of his skill set. To push income tax reform, Jindal might have been better off getting somebody like Peppi Bruneau or Jim Tucker – a former state legislator whose skill set involves getting a bill passed – than a numbers guy like Barfield. This wasn’t really about numbers at all, despite what anybody says; it was much more about politics.
Second, given the rocky launch of the tax reform plan at the legislature and the rumored bickering between him and the governor’s staff, don’t be shocked if Robideaux isn’t the Ways and Means chair for long.
Dan Juneau noted on Friday that making a big reform to the tax code when budgets are tight is an extremely difficult thing to do. But when there’s a deficit of political capital and the people to do it aren’t in place, it’s impossible.