…as SB 10, the J.P. Morrell-sponsored Earned Income Tax Credit increase bill which for some inexplicable reason managed to get 30 votes on the Senate floor, died yesterday in the House Ways and Means Committee by a 10-5 vote.
The Louisiana House Ways and Means Committee voted 10-5 Thursday (May 31) against a proposal to expand a state tax credit that only goes to working poor people with children. The vote fell mostly along political party lines, with Democrats favoring the measure and Republicans voting against it.
Senate Bill 10, sponsored by Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, expanded a state break for working poor people — called the earned income tax credit — from 3.5 to 5 percent. The legislation has passed the Senate on a 30-5 vote and was expected to cost the state $21 million in revenue next fiscal year.
Some Republicans on the House committee said they supported Morrell’s proposal in concept, but they couldn’t approve it when Louisiana is facing a budget shortfall that threatens to cut state services.
Morrell said he sponsored the proposal to offset an anticipated higher sales tax rate the Legislature is likely to approve. His bill was tied to proposed legislation to raise sales taxes. If a higher sales tax rate did not get approved, the expanded earned income tax credit would not have gone into effect, he said.
So much for shared sacrifice, right, Sen. Morrell? Everybody gets a tax increase but his broke constituents. Who will stay broke as the state’s economy continues to shrink while the rest of the country flourishes.
Morrell brought the usual leftist advocates from teacher unions, the Louisiana Budget Project and the like to preach about how $40 tax credits doled out to poor people would make a big difference in their lives while $21 million coming out of the state treasury wouldn’t matter to the state’s budget.
We’ve done a couple of posts this week on how terrible the Senate is, between the hard-core leftists like Morrell and Karen Carter Peterson who somehow were put in charge of the Senate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs and Senate Governmental Affairs committees in a majority Republican body, and the weak-sister Republicans who can’t help themselves but to vote for giveaways like this one when Louisiana is running a budget deficit. That really came to the fore on Wednesday, when Morrell’s Rev & Fisc Committee perverted a Republican compromise bill on sales taxes into a full-monty $650 million assault on the state’s business community. Morrell’s appearance in front of House Ways and Means was something of an interrogation, though a much more polite one than Lance Harris, the author of the compromise sales tax bill, received in Morrell’s committee, on the fact that Morrell hijacked a bill by Rep. Walt Leger on internet sales taxes and cloned Harris sales tax bill instead.
In short, the Republicans on Ways and Means had no desire to reward Morrell for his machinations and not only killed the Earned Income Tax Credit bill but another bill, SB 8, which did the same thing Leger’s original internet sales tax bill did before Morrell hijacked it.
Which is a small bit of revenge for the ugly spectacle Morrell put on in Rev & Fisc and perhaps a signal that if the Senate won’t behave as adults they’ll only contribute to gridlock at the Louisiana legislature.