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Session conditions sabotaged real tax reform

Opining about attempted tax reform during the recently completed, underachieving 2018 First Extraordinary Session of the Louisiana Legislature, failed comedian and Republican state Rep. Kenny Havard lamented, “We didn’t even try.”

Of course not. If anything, the session’s design subverted that task.

Havard’s predilection for government spending more usually puts him in league with Democrats, and around the House of Representatives several from that party during the session complained that GOP plans to address a potential fiscal year 2019 shortfall rested on a partial, temporary extension of the 2016 sales tax hike. They said not to pursue a permanent tax increase did not achieve “tax reform.”


First governor's race poll warning to Edwards

The first significant independent poll has surfaced regarding the 2019 governor’s contest, and it brings bad news to incumbent Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards.

For some months, Edwards has kept calm over challenges to his reelection, reassured by some good fundraising numbers (some $5 million in the bank at the end of 2017, plus an allied political action committee that separately has around $270,000 available) and approval numbers a bit above 50 percent. However, as elections contrast more than a single candidate, suspicions lingered that the popularity figure overestimated support at present in the voting booth.

A survey by Mason Dixon Polling and Research confirms this. The firm put up three hypothetical Republican candidates, two of them well-known, against Edwards. Facing Sen. John Kennedy, Edwards at 45 percent leads him by a single point; matched against Rep. Steve Scalise, the U.S. House of Representatives’ third-ranked official, he has a three-point advantage at 46 percent; and enjoys 51 percent support to only 28 percent for Rep. Ralph Abraham, who not many would know from outside the northern part of the state.


Ask right tax questions to find useful policy

My Advocate colleague Tyler Bridges wrote something last week that, while informative, entirely missed the point of the tax-raising animal spirits currently on display at the Louisiana Legislature’s lingering special session

Running some numbers from various sources, he argued that all the conflict over whether to increase taxes, how, and by how much actually didn’t amount to a whole lot for the typical households. Best he figured, whether on income or sales, it amounted to one percent of an individual’s income.

That implies that all of the conflict renting the session overdramatizes the situation. If just this amount, the tone of the article asks, why can’t some agreement to hike taxes be reached?