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Temporary tax extension best for LA fiscal reform

The best alternative for Louisiana to deal with a looming budgetary shortfall lies in continuing to do the same thing.

Legislators began meeting earlier this week in the hopes of erasing a potential fiscal year 2019 spending plan deficit. Current spending levels less temporary taxes rolling off on Jun. 30 equals nearly a billion-dollar hole.

A number of proposals have surfaced to address this, guided by the parameters of the special session call issued by Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards. But the Republican-controlled Legislature, especially the House of Representatives, wisely seems unlikely to approve his first choice, increases on marginal income tax rates geared towards higher individual earners and corporations.


Speech signals Edwards knows his weakness

Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ address at the start of the Louisiana Legislature’s special session yesterday confirmed one thing: he’s in trouble, he knows it, and now so do we.

Edwards delivered a speech imploring that he and the legislative branch’s Republican leadership – although really pitched at the House of Representatives – to work together, yet was one relentlessly partisan and tone-deaf to real world data and experience. It strung together numerous talking points that don’t stand up to the glare of reality. Such as:

We addressed that [2016] shortfall by taking a balanced approach of revenue, strategic spending cuts, significant savings, and economic growth …. [S]ome want to argue that these weren’t real [spending] cuts.


Renegade Republicans threaten LA govt inflation

It’s not so much whether Louisiana’s House of Representative’s Republican delegation can unite to address immediate fiscal concerns, but whether some faction of it will defect to hand Louisianans a big tax bill for the foreseeable future.

As lawmakers convene for a special session that could last almost two weeks, five groups have coalesced over dealing with an impending deficit for next fiscal year’s budget. The expiration of temporary taxes, most prominently a one cent levy on sales, at the end of this fiscal year means current spending patterns exceed expected existing revenues by almost $1 billion.

A small group of Republicans don’t want to see any restoration of temporary taxes, much less new permanent ones, and hope a combination of efficiencies and user fees, plus revenue boosts from federal tax changes, make up the difference. Their opposite number of Democrats, also few, want to see only permanent income tax increases focused on corporations and on those individuals above lower-income status.