Johns, Morrish express concerns over Jindal's tax reform plan

By By John Guidroz / American Press

Two Southwest Louisiana senators said their constituents are concerned about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax reform proposal, including whether a higher sales

tax rate will offset the loss from removing state income taxes.

“I can tell you that the vast majority of people who I have heard from — both business people and individuals — do not think

that it’s a good idea,” Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Sulphur, said Tuesday.

Jindal has proposed eliminating $3.6 billion in individual and corporate income taxes and raising sales tax rates from 4 percent

to 6.25 percent. The plan also calls for taxing services like haircuts, landscaping and advertising. State lawmakers will

consider the proposal once the legislative session begins Monday.

“It’s a whole lot to bite off and chew in a 60-day session,” said Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish, R-Jennings.

Morrish said getting rid of the state income tax is a good idea, but replacing that revenue is the big issue. Another concern,

he said, is the shifting numbers, including the originally proposed 5.88 percent sales tax increase going to 6.25 percent.

“The numbers are all over the charts,” he said. “I don’t know where it’s going to be tomorrow.”

Johns said some local retailers oppose the plan because Calcasieu Parish consumers could go across the border to Texas to

buy the same product cheaper.

Johns said some local hotel owners are concerned about their ability to host conventions and compete with other states that

would charge fewer sales taxes.

Morrish said that local business owners told him they would rather pay corporate income taxes than follow Jindal’s tax reform

proposal.

Because the tax reform plan continues to change and is far reaching, Johns said lawmakers need more time to review the proposal.

“In my opinion, I think that this is something that should’ve been discussed, thought out (and) worked on for a minimum of

one year,” he said. “Whatever we do is this year in the Legislature is going to have a long-term effect on the state.”