It’s nice to know there are people in the Louisiana legislature willing to at least discuss doing something which so obviously, desperately needs to be done and heretofore has gone nowhere. The state income tax in Louisiana is the single dumbest piece of policy on the books, in that it’s the primary cause of the mass exodus of jobs, capital and population out of this state to, primarily, Florida, Texas and Tennessee.
Which are states without an income tax.
At least some of the leges get this, which is nice. It’s at least a start.
Louisiana legislators are once again discussing a possible path toward eliminating state income tax.
Lawmakers acknowledged, during Tuesday’s tax-writing committee meeting, that proposals to rid income tax is bound to meet massive fiscal hurdles, but others say it is necessary to help keep and attract residents, businesses and corporations to Louisiana. Republican Rep. Richard Nelson, who steered the conversation, described an overhaul of the state’s tax system as a “mousetrap” — allowing it to compete with states without income tax, such as neighboring Texas, that have seen faster and more significant growth.
“When you look at the state and you look at the trajectory that we’re going, I think the tax structure in Louisiana is one of the fundamental things that’s holding us back,” Nelson said during the House Ways and Means committee meeting.
Revamping the state’s complex tax code is likely to face fiscal and political challenges, considering personal income taxes are expected to raise $4.3 billion of the state’s $39 billion annual operating budget.
If income tax is removed, lawmakers will need to figure out how funds would be replaced — whether that means increasing sales and property taxes or reducing exemptions. Subcommittees will be tasked with conducting an analysis of the state’s tax structure, looking at what exemptions and credits are costing and what other taxes can be afforded to change.
Debbie Vivien, Chief Economist for the Legislative Fiscal Office, cautioned that it may not be the time for an immense change.
“We’re seeing really high revenue, we know it’s probably going to come down. We have hurricane recovery, we have a lot of federal money being dropped in. We know it’s going to come down so we just caution you… if you’re tempted to cut just keep in mind we have a far way to fall at this point,” Vivien said.
Not to be too nasty toward Debbie Vivien, but her take is absolutely ridiculous.
Louisiana had a bad government when the state budget was $25 billion. That was seven years ago before John Bel Edwards, the economic illiterate Democrat tyrant who currently sits in the governor’s mansion, took office. Now Louisiana has a worse government and the budget is $40 billion.
We’ll take the bad $25 billion government, thanks, and pay no income tax to it.
“Replacing” the funds no longer going to the state treasury once an income tax is repealed? Why bother doing that? Those funds are wasted and stolen.
What we find outrageous is this mentality which holds that Louisiana “can’t afford” to dump the state income tax. That mentality comes from the mistaken belief that this is the government’s money.
It isn’t. It’s our money which they come to confiscate every year, and then it’s spent on a myriad of things which do not make our lives better.
Like a Department of Child and Family Services which places kids with child molesters. Or a Department of Transportation and Development which makes traffic worse rather than better with every $100 million it shovels out the door. Or a Department of Health which pisses away billions of dollars imposing illegitimate medical tyranny through its Medicaid program, with no discernible benefit in health outcomes. Or a bloated 14-campus complex of public higher education institutions which are pitifully woke, can’t place a single campus among the top 150 colleges in America and are still demanding students take vaccines which don’t work.
There isn’t a single arm of Louisiana’s government which isn’t bloated, ineffective and poorly led. State government here is an abomination, a humiliating corrupt racket dominated by a small cabal of lobbyists and fixers with greasy fingers in all the pies which has made it virtually impossible for honest people to start and build a business.
And that’s why Louisianans with good ideas and a good start in business choose to grow elsewhere. Look at Smoothie King, at Raising Cane’s, at Walkon’s. There are tons of other examples.
Next door in Mississippi, where almost none of the bounteous natural resources we have exist, they’ve nevertheless built up such a surplus from having an efficient, economically-sized, and business-friendly state government that they’re now phasing out the state income tax. Mississippi is outpacing Louisiana in growth and we’re no longer laughing at them. They’re poorer than we are, but they’re actually moving forward.
And we’re collapsing. All of our cities are in decline. They’re shooting galleries run by kleptocrats and morons. And our state government is a dysfunctional, expensive mess.
Those things might not be fixable. So be it. At minimum we should be allowed to cut the price of the dysfunctional, expensive mess and keep the money we’re forced to throw into its gaping maw.
Kill the state income tax. Now, if not sooner. If we had a legislature led by Republicans with balls there would be a bill on Edwards’ desk in the next legislative session, with a strong implication that he could either sign it or his successor would.
Maybe we’ll get that. Probably we won’t. But sooner or later all of our neighbors will have done this, so we can decide to be last in the South again or we can make a right decision for once.
And thanks go to Rep. Richard Nelson, who’s leading the charge for this. We wish him luck in that endeavor.