Editor’s Note: A guest post by Rep. Blake Miguez (R-New Iberia)…
The Louisiana Legislature will meet in special session again this week to consider various proposals to raise taxes. As public servants with the power to tax, I believe it’s important you know where I stand.
Increasing the tax burden on Louisiana families and businesses is out of the question. While some revenue raising measures can be taken into account, state government must learn to live within its means while addressing our most crucial funding concerns. I will not support any tax increases while our current state budget grows 2 billion dollars larger than last year, with a state general fund that is $900 million more than we had a year ago.
These are very tough times for Louisiana families. Earlier this year, the Louisiana Legislative Fiscal Office’s chief economist declared Louisiana was in an economic recession. But to those of us who live and work in and around Acadiana, we see the impact of the recession everyday. More than 10,000 people have lost jobs during the past year in the Lafayette and Houma-Thibodaux regions. I can’t imagine asking Louisiana families and businesses to sacrifice and to give state government more money during such a critical period when many are fighting for financial survival.
We are now being asked to raise your taxes again even though we don’t know how much money will be pouring in the state coffers from the revenue generated in the previous sessions. Many in the business community who are footing the bill for these new taxes believe the final figure will be much larger than what was previously predicted.
I am fully aware that the world is different than it was in 1996, but Louisiana’s state budget that year, when Governor Edwin Edwards left office, was about $10 billion. Today, the budget is over $30 billion, which is $2 billion more than last year.
When you are facing a recession, you have to make reductions, prioritize your spending and make sure you are spending wisely. That is how it works in the private sector and in our homes. Fiscal responsibility should be a bipartisan concern that unites all of us. Louisiana needs budget and tax reform. We simply cannot afford for state government to fail us by raising taxes on Louisiana families and businesses, and I intend to do my part to see that it doesn’t.