There is still a billion-dollar budget hole looming, which will result from temporary taxes expiring in mid-2018, but consensus on tax reform to fix the problem has not been reached. As a result, Gov. Edwards told House Speaker Taylor Barras that he will not call a special session before the next regular session unless he’s confident the Legislature can agree on a tax plan.
The Times-Picayune reported that without a plan to replace this revenue, lawmakers will be forced to cut approximately $1.2 billion from state spending, which will likely mean closing public universities and hospitals.
Edwards asked Barras to consider forming a bipartisan working group to discuss ideas and options. Of course, this has been done before. In the past year, bills stemming from ideas proposed by a nonpartisan study group to reform the state tax structure were killed, reported U.S. News and World Report. Debate continues to go around and around, with some lawmakers aiming for reining in state spending more, some wanting to increase income or corporate tax rates, and some wanting to renew part of the higher sales tax rate that is set to expire in July 2018.
For now, NFIB/LA continues to prepare to engage on this big issue when the Legislature returns. Keep an eye out for a poll on whether we should advocate for a renewal of 1 penny sales tax extension and weigh in when you receive it.