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Thursday, April 24, 2014
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(Associated Press)

Black Caucus offers tax alternative to Jindal plan

Last Modified: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 10:33 AM

By John Guidroz / American Press

Members of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus on Tuesday discussed an alternative to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax reform plan that would reduce personal and corporate income taxes instead of eliminate them, increase cigarette taxes by 69 cents a pack, collect taxes on online sales and create a state tax court.

Caucus Chair Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, told more than 50 people at a town hall meeting that the plan calls for eliminating the corporate franchise tax, a 2 percent reduction in corporate income taxes and filing legislation to collect taxes from online sales once federal lawmakers approve a similar measure.

Jackson said the plan is “true tax reform,” while Jindal’s proposal “overburdens the middle and lower middle class.” The governor’s plan would eliminate individual and corporate income taxes, while raising the 4 percent state sales tax by 1.88 percent and boosting cigarette taxes from 36 cents per pack to $1.41 per pack. It also calls for taxing services like haircuts and landscaping.

“We’re trying to beat them to the table on tax reform,” Jackson said. “It’s not a party issue. Jindal is putting himself on the national agenda.”

Jackson said she is also worried that Jindal’s reform efforts will not be revenue neutral. The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana issued a report last week saying that the state could lose up to $650 million in revenue under Jindal’s plan.

“(The state) already has a $1.3 billion deficit this year,” she said.

Jackson said the caucus is working on its own revenue-generating package that should be released next week.

She said the tax reform plan would not allow individuals or corporations to claim any federal deductions except for charitable and religious organizations. There would be a standard deduction of $9,000 for joint return filers, $4,500 for non-joint return filers and $1,000 for dependency deductions.

The proposed state tax court would include three elected judges, with one serving the first circuit, another serving the second and third circuits and another serving the fourth and fifth circuits.

David Gray is a policy analyst for the Louisiana Budget Project, a nonprofit group that worked with the caucus on the plan. He said Jindal’s rebate program will not compensate low- and middle-class people for the extra money spent on sales taxes.

“If you make less than $30,000 a year, you will benefit by $7,” he said. “If you make over $1 million, you will benefit by $66,000.”

The meeting, held at the Foreman-Reynaud Community Center, was hosted by the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus and Rep. A.B. Franklin, D-Lake Charles.

Posted By: Ricky T. Guidry On: 3/28/2013

Title: Mail order or online taxes

It is about time someone brings to light the issue of state & local taxes on mail order or on-line purchases. I do not think anyone in this state can estimate the taxes lost from mail order or on-line purchases. I would bet that it is in the billion mark range. Kudos to the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus and Rep. A.B. Franklin, D-Lake Charles for having this forum and I hope that their tax reform will see the light of day and soon!

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