Tuesday, 26 April 2011 17:55

Louisiana Budget, Economy Needs Fair Tax Act And Radical Surgery

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The past few decades have not been kind to Louisiana. While our Southern neighbors have prospered, Louisiana has lost population and industry. While major automobile plants have been built in Mississippi and Alabama, Louisiana has been largely overlooked. The only business announcements have been negative ones as major facilities like Michoud in New Orleans East and Avondale Shipyard in Jefferson Parish prepare to close.

The result has been the loss of congressional seats and power on Capitol Hill. With fewer representatives in Congress, Louisiana will have less clout to steer major federal projects to the state. The rich will get richer and Louisiana will fall further behind.


A host of other problems grip Louisiana such as high crime, poor roads, inferior public schools, bloated higher education bureaucracy, and rampant political corruption. Throw in an occasional natural and man-made disaster like Hurricane Katrina and it really is tough to recruit businesses and retirees to Louisiana.


It is clearly time for radical surgery to the way our state operates. Two bills, filed by State Representative Walker Hines (R-New Orleans) provide just the sort of change that the state needs. Hines has proposed the HB 239 and HB 242, called the Louisiana Fair Tax Act. The bills would eliminate the personal income tax, corporate income tax and corporate franchise tax in the State of Louisiana.


If enacted, these bills would put Louisiana in competition with Texas and Florida, which do not have state income taxes. In recent years, both Texas and Florida have prospered gaining population and business, while Louisiana has lost both. In the recent Census report, both states gained congressional seats, while Louisiana lost a seat for the second time in two decades.


According to State Representative Hines, the state would not lose revenue by eliminating all of these taxes. Hines calls for the revocation of “hundreds of tax exemptions, exceptions, deductions, and credits,” which account for the “loss of over $4 billion in State revenue in 2010, many of which are antiquated and apply only to special interests.”


While many of these tax credits have been successful and have recruited business to the state, such as the movie industry, many other tax exemptions have been issued to powerful political interests. These typical political games have cost Louisiana dearly.


Hines believes that the state needs “a simpler, fairer, and more transparent reform to our tax code, which will stimulate new trains of thought in our tax and revenue debate. It's clear that with a $1.6 billion deficit, Louisiana needs to think outside the box and focus on how we do a better job of growing our economy.”


Clearly, in recent years, Louisiana’s economy has been stagnant at best. A major overhaul is needed to spur real economic growth. The Louisiana Fair Tax Act would give the state economy the booster shot it desperately needs.

Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].


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