Senate Committee Says Keep Sales Tax Holiday For Guns, Get Rid Of School And Hurricane Supplies

The Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs voted to junk the sales tax holiday for hurricane supplies and back to school shopping for next year. However, they voted to keep the sales tax holiday for guns and hunting supplies.

Here’s the story from the Times-Picayune:

A Louisiana Senate Committee spared a sales tax holiday for guns and hunting equipment — including off-road vehicles — while supporting the elimination of similar exemptions for hurricane equipment and school supplies next year.

The Louisiana Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs voted 7-2* to the Second Amendment sales tax holiday during the first weekend in September. The measure eliminates the sales tax on all hunting equipment — including firearms, ammunition, clothing, knives, ATVs and tree stands — during a three-day period.

At the same time, the committee signed off on doing away with similar sales tax holidays aimed at back-to-school purchases in early August and hurricane preparedness supplies next May.

One of the biggest charges that the Louisiana Democrat Party has been making is that the Louisiana GOP controlled state government is essentially a tool of special interests. Unfortunately, this vote plays right into the hands of that argument.

State Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, said hunting shops had already purchased inventory in anticipation of moving lots of items during the September sales tax holiday weekend. Eliminating the tax holiday would have hurt these businesses.

“Sales are so large on that particular day,” said Riser, who supported reinstating the hunting sales tax holiday as the Senate committee’s chairman, “There are a lot of worthy exemptions out there.”

Morrell also said committee members received a letter from U.S. Sen. David Vitter, urging legislators to vote against the hunting sales tax holiday repeal. A gubernatorial candidate this year, Vitter indicated he was ok with the temporary elimination of sales tax holidays on the back-to-school supplies and hurricane preparedness, according to Morrell.

The narrative is going to be that the gun lobby and retailers lobbied the Legislature to preserve their sales tax holiday, while taking away the holiday that benefited working people. Will that narrative go far in Louisiana? On its own, nope because Louisiana is strongly pro-gun. However, when you add it to the “Jindal is trying appease Grover Norquist” and stupidity like the SAVE Act debate, eventually it’s going to start sticking.

If was in the Legislature at the time, I would not have supported creating either of these sales tax holidays. I think sales tax holidays are stupid government policy. But we have them in place at the moment and I would only support getting rid of them as a part of comprehensive sales tax reform that lowers rates, simplifies collections, and eliminates exemptions. All nine members of this committee voted to raise taxes on Louisianians yesterday, they just disagreed on which taxes to raise.

Here are the votes:

In favor of keeping the hunting tax holiday, while eliminating others: 

Dale Erdey, R-Livingston

Neil Riser, R-Columbia

Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb, D-Baton Rouge

David Heitmeier, D-New Orleans

Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe

Gary Smith, D-Norco

John Smith, R-Leesville

Not in favor of keeping the hunting tax holiday, while eliminating others: 

Rick Gallot, D-Ruston

JP Morrell, D-New Orleans

This stunt did result in a positive for Louisiana taxpayers at the end of the day. State Rep. Jack Montoucet (D-Crowley) now says he’s going to pull his bill because of this. By being stupid, the Louisiana Senate may have helped Louisiana taxpayers in the end.

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