UPDATED: Regarding the previous update, the tax increase bills (HB 609 & 630) were actually deferred. Information was confused from my contact in BR.
And, what passed committee was two bills from Rep. Hunter Greene CUTTING income taxes, totalling $1.2 Billion.
HB 633 repeals state income taxes levied on businesses (totalling $81 Million per year).
HB 634 repeals state income taxes levied on individuals (totalling $943 Million per year).
With the current state budget deficit, this may sound like an irresponsible idea. However, please keep in mind that already 6 states, including nearby Florida and Texas, have no state income taxes. Property taxes are higher, though, and Louisiana would obviously need to reform its property tax exemption.
Higher property taxes and less income taxes would allow more money to stay with parish and municipal governments, thus keeping more money local for our public schools and local projects.
This may require voters to vote for increased taxes on the local levels of government, as state government may not be able to subsidize all the local services it currently does, but the benefit would be you can attend your local government council meetings much easier than committee hearings in Baton Rouge.
The debate over these two changes in our state tax system will certainly be interesting, and as these bills both move to the House floor, you should contact your State Rep. and voice your concerns and opinions.
In my opinion, what HB 633 & 634 does is allow our state government to be more de-centralized and could allow local governments to be more independent from the wheeling and dealing done in Baton Rouge each year between legislators and with the Governor’s office looking for “local pork”.
ORIGINAL: Fellow LA Taxpayers:
Today in the State House Ways & Means Committee, several bills to increase taxes were heard.
The tobacco tax increase bill, HB 63, which amounted to roughly $122 Million in increased taxes, failed.
However, two other bills which increase taxes on individuals and businesses by a combined $233 Million per year did pass committee, meaning they will advance forward to a Final Vote for Passage on the House Floor.
HB 609 by Rep. Dixon (D-Alexandria) increases income taxes on individuals in Louisiana at a figure of $166 Million per year by cutting in half certain deductions currently taken by LA taxpayers on state income tax filings.
HB 630 by Rep. Ritchie (D-Bogalusa) increases taxes on individuals and businesses in Louisiana at a figure of $67 Million per year by increasing sales tax on utility usage on Louisiana businesses and by increasing income taxes on public sector retirement benefits.
We are still in a recession, private sector pay stagnant while the costs for fuel and food continue to increase, and our state government wants to take more money out of our pockets by way of more taxes. Louisiana does not have a revenue problem. We have a spending and structure problem and will continue to plagued as long as we continue demanding state support for the current number of 4 year universities and refuse acknowledge we have too many state employees for our tax base to support.
When/if the individual committee vote on these two tax increase bills is released, I will forward that information.
HB 609 and 630 will now go to the House floor for a full debate and vote on whether or not to advance these tax increases forward to the Senate. The House is more conservative than the Senate. If these bills pass the House, they are almost certain to pass the Senate final vote.
Please contact your State Representative and ask him/her to vote against taking more of our hard-earned income and to vote against tax increases that would discourage a positive business climate in Louisiana.