Louisiana raked in the needed $200 million from its amnesty period for delinquent taxpayers to keep the state's operating budget balanced, the revenue department announced Monday.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana raked in the needed $200 million from its amnesty period for delinquent taxpayers to keep the state's operating budget balanced, the revenue department announced Monday.
The success of the program, which stopped taking applications last week, will keep lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal from scrambling in the second half of the 2013-14 fiscal year to rework the state's $25.4 billion budget.
"Based on applications and payments processed as of this morning, we have met the $200 million goal," Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield said in a statement Monday.
Lawmakers used the money anticipated to be collected in back-owed taxes to pay for health care services for the poor, elderly and disabled in Louisiana's Medicaid program. If the amnesty collections hadn't reached that mark, the budget hole would have been large, because the amnesty dollars were used to draw down federal Medicaid matching money.
Not only will the state's budget stay on track, but lawmakers and the Jindal administration will have additional money to spend. The revenue department expects to surpass $200 million in collections of back-owed taxes.
"We expect that number to grow as we receive and process applications and payments submitted in the final days and hours of the amnesty program," Barfield said.
From September until Friday, delinquent taxpayers were able to get caught up on their tax bills without any penalties and with only half the interest charges they would have otherwise owed on the debt.
The program covered most taxes administered by the Department of Revenue.
The department didn't release detailed figures, instead focusing solely on the good news for the state's budget and indicating that the tally of how much was paid wasn't yet complete.
Before the amnesty period, 443,000 taxpayers owed $1.4 billion in unpaid taxes, while another 3,000 businesses or wealthy individuals owed $1.1 billion and were involved in audits or litigation with the Department of Revenue. Both groups were eligible for amnesty.
The state will offer two additional one-month amnesty periods in 2014 and 2015, but with less generous terms. Louisiana has offered similar programs five other times, the most recent in 2001 and 2009.
The last amnesty program brought in $483 million from more than 40,000 delinquent taxpayers, with 85 percent of that coming from 600 taxpayers seeking to settle outstanding audit issues or lawsuits with the department.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, April 23, 2014:
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.
State Rep. Stuart Bishop says he’s concerned with the quality of Capitol Lake, but when it comes to Louisiana’s coastline, this Lafayette Republican doesn't seem to give a damn.
Democrats sweating this year's elections may be hoping that the Obama administration's latest delay to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline takes a politically fraught issue off the table for the midterms.
Louisiana lawmakers are entering the second half of their three-month regular legislative session, which must end by June 2. Where some of the major issues stand:
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.