Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Tax Reform Face-Off


Bobby Jindal's tax reform bill has garnered varying opinions on how the proposal would affect Louisiana taxpayers.

The governor claims his reform would increase business in Louisiana, while others like Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Minden, have an alternative view.

"Eliminating income taxes will help make Louisiana the best place for businesses to create jobs and give Louisianans more control over their own money," Jindal said. "We've talked about eliminating income taxes for years so we could compete with other states and create more opportunities for people who need work, but we've always just tinkered around the edges of real reform. It's time to step up and eliminate income taxes so we can unleash major economic growth."

Sales Tax Exemptions Eliminated
Services To Be Taxed
Sales Tax Exemptions Retained
Services Not Taxable

Reynolds believes fact and hypothetical probabilities are two separate matters.

"If someone says this reform will bring in more business, I have to ask 'How do they know that?" Reynolds said. "You have to look at what you know now, the facts and figures, not what might happen.

"The administration keeps saying it is going to bring in business," he continued. "However, the business I have talked to have said the tax structure is good here, but the real deal is the work force. We do not have a very well trained work force, so we need to build that up if we are gong to attract new business."

The feedback Reynolds has received regarding the tax reform has been largely opposed.

"Ninety-nine percent of my constituents that have contacted me do not support this tax reform," he said. "I have had maybe one or two calls that were in support of this, and that was in the beginning- before they found out there is going to be a rebate for the poor."

The governor said, "The truth is the current system protects the well off and protects the powerful special interests that can afford a lobbyist and a lawyer. At the same time, the current system hurts the poor and holds them back from finding a good-paying job. The tax code fuels the cycle of poverty in Louisiana. It protects special interests and holds back the poor."

Reynolds thinks people need to decide for themselves if the tax proposal is best.

"Everyone has to look at their situation and decide for themselves, is this something that is really going to be good or bad for me," he said.

In order to find the $3.6 million tax funds needed after eliminating income tax, Reynolds said the government has three options: raise taxes, remove exemptions and broaden the tax base.

"They are looking at doing all three," Reynolds said. "This is a movement of tax load from one group or groups to other groups.

"They may be able to come up with the money by doing that," he continued. "But when you do that you have moved the burden around. So now the burden will be shifted down to small and medium size business and to the middle class and the poor."

Jindal has emphasized the current tax code fuels the cycle of poverty in Louisiana by protecting special interests.

"Every person in this state deserves an opportunity to succeed," he said. "That's why it's time to give everyone a fair shake in our tax code and create an environment where more businesses want to invest and create opportunities for our people."

However, tax exemptions will remain available to some groups, while other groups, accustomed to tax exemptions, will no longer benefit.

"For instance the oil and gas industry was against the proposal at first," Reynolds said. "Now they are for it because they added a severance tax back into it – after it was taken out."

Reynolds said the bill has changed several times from when it first came out and more changes are likely to come.

"A proposal to increase the sales tax to 6.25 percent would mean a two and half cent increase on every dollar spent," Reynolds said.

According to documents made available at the House Ways and Means committee on March 19, Jindal's plan taxes services and other items, which are not currently taxed.

Last Updated ( April 05, 2013 )  





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