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Story Archives: State income tax cuts on horizon
|State income tax cuts on horizon|
State Sen. Neil Riser said Louisiana residents could expect some type of income tax cut to come out of the 2008 regular session, but how that cut would come about depended largely on the House of Representatives.
The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 87 last week, but not before State Sen. Neil Gautreaux tacked on an amendment to eliminate all state income tax over a 10-year period.
Gautreaux's move was widely seen as an attempt to kill SB-87, which originally sought to roll back state income tax rates to pre-2002 levels.
However, Riser said it now appeared that the House was poised to pass the bill as amended.
"It looks like there is a potential the House is going to vote it out just like it was sent over," Riser said. "It could be passed to potentially eliminate individual income taxes."
If that happened, it would then be up to Gov. Bobby Jindal to sign the bill into law or veto the measure.
Jindal press secretary Melissa Sellars said the governor "always supported" tax cuts, but stopped short of saying whether or not Jindal would sign SB-87 into law if that bill contained the elimination of state income taxes.
"The governor will continue to support additional conservative tax cut proposals that include accompanying spending cuts," Sellars said. "It is fiscally responsible to cut spending to accompany tax cuts."
Current estimates place the cost of eliminating state income taxes at approximately $4 billion per year.
Riser said such a dramatic revenue decrease would mean deep cuts to Louisiana's biggest programs - education and healthcare.
Among other areas of funding that could be potentially impacted were new projects in major cities, Riser said.
"I think it would affect the major cities more than anybody else because we see them historically getting the major funding," Riser said.
Riser did not speculate whether or not Jindal would sign an amended SB-87 into law but said indications were positive for a tax cut of some kind.
"It looks like for sure we'll get tax relief, in one shape or another," Riser said. "That's what we wanted to do - get a tax cut for the people."
In other legislative news, Jindal signed House Bill 1116 into law, giving the state Department of Agriculture an additional $2-million for the boll weevil eradication program.
That proposal, by State Rep. Noble Ellington, would mean the eradication program would not see a budget shortfall in the current fiscal year.