Editor’s Note: A guest post by State Rep. Rick Edmonds (R-Baton Rouge)…
On Monday evening, the Legislature convened its second special session at the behest of Governor John Bel Edwards, who is seeking to raise taxes on Louisiana families and businesses. Even though Governor Edwards successfully pushed through the largest tax increase in Louisiana history a few months ago, he and his allies in the Legislature have chosen to hold emergency medical care, higher education and TOPS scholarships hostage in an attempt to raise our taxes again.
The people of Louisiana simply cannot afford to pay any more of their hard earned money to the government. We’ve had two consecutive years of large tax increases on Louisiana businesses. The taxes aren’t just affecting business. Louisiana now has the highest combined local and state sales tax rate in the country. Now, Governor Edwards wants to raise your income taxes.
While they are quick to ask for more of your hard earned money, no one at the State Capitol can tell you with any amount of certainty how much new tax money state government generated over the past two years. The budget currently under consideration has ballooned to be $2 billion larger than it was last year, and the state general fund is approximately $900 million larger than last year. That does not sound like the fiscal crisis Gov. Edwards is crying wolf about.
Now is the time for fiscal responsibility in Baton Rouge. It’s time we commit ourselves to removing every penny of waste and redundancy in state government and reduce the number of people on the government dole. Structural budgetary and tax reform is desperately needed. A blank check written by the taxpayers to continue to grow state government is not the prescription to cure our fiscal woes.
I gave my word to the people of District 66 that I would not raise their taxes in order to avoid cutting the size of government. I intend to keep my word.
After all, the recent Southern media statewide poll indicates that 63% of Louisiana voters believe that the state’s financial problems were caused by too much spending, while only 26% blamed a lack of revenue. As a Republican, I noticed that even Democrats agreed with my position by a 54% – 35% margin. Maybe Governor Edwards should think on that for a while.