You can’t make this up. The Senate just passed SB 284, which would create a new tax credit called the Student Assessment for a Valuable Education (SAVE). What this credit would do is offset a fee, which hasn’t been created yet by the Board of Regents.
The gimmick, I mean bill, by Senator Jack Donahue (R-Mandeville) also has this interesting section in it.
So let’s review what we have here
- We have a non-existent fee to be assessed by the Board of Regents on every college student in Louisiana.
- That non-existent fee will be offset by a new tax credit.
- However, students or their parents and/or guardians are not required to actually pay the new fee.
What we have here is a shell game for the Louisiana legislature to justify raising taxes. This new credit, which will make Louisana’s tax code more complicated, is designed for two purposes: satisfy Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform and help Bobby Jindal’s presidential bid.
What will happen is the “fee” will be assessed by however much they need to raise taxes by and the credit will match it. Therefore using ATR’s math, it will be revenue neutral. However, using real world math, it will be a tax increase because the fee and credit are meaningless.
For example, the Legislature decides to raise taxes by $100 million to go towards higher ed. They’ll simply have the Board of Regents create a SAVE assessed fee for $100 million, which actually would never be paid. The $100 million in new taxes will become a SAVE credit and be sent to the Board of Regents. According to ATR, this is revenue-neutral because the tax hike being offset by a tax credit. But in reality, it’s a $100 million tax increase because the SAVE credit and fee are bogus.
Bernie Madoff, Enron, and Lehman Brothers kept better books than the State of Louisiana would under this scheme. The accounting for those companies and scammers are models of transparency compared to this.
The bill drew opposition from Democrats who were against it because it was designed to help Jindal, not because it’s an awful idea.
— Julia O'Donoghue (@JSODonoghue) May 25, 2015
In the end, this bill passed 29-10 with the “no” votes coming entirely from the Democrat Party.