BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal will unveil the details of his highly awaited tax code rewrite proposal by the end of next week, the governor's office said Tuesday.
Jindal spokesman Sean Lansing said the House will receive the proposal by March 15, as requested by House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, in a letter to the governor's chief of staff, Paul Rainwater.
"I feel strongly that the House of Representatives should begin hearings on such an important issue," Kleckley wrote Tuesday. "The public needs sufficient time to review the actual proposed legislation in order for members to receive feedback from their constituency."
Lawmakers will debate the proposal in the legislative session that begins April 8, but they'll have only two months to make a decision before the session ends in June.
In January, Jindal announced that he is proposing to get rid of the state's personal and business income taxes, in exchange for higher and more sales taxes, removal of some tax breaks and other tax code changes.
But the Republican governor has yet to reveal how high he'd like to raise the sales tax, what new services he'd like to include in the sales tax or what tax exemptions and credits he'd like to scrap.
The Jindal administration has offered only broad models of what's being considered, saying the governor wanted to meet with each legislator before settling on a final tax package.
Lansing said lawmakers next week will receive the specific pieces of legislation being proposed by Jindal — and those also will be released to the public.
Kleckley said he wants the House Ways and Means Committee, which reviews tax proposals, to convene a series of hearings March 19 on the specifics of Jindal's tax plan.
"We are still in the process of finishing up meetings with legislators and stakeholders so that we can gather their ideas and continue what has been a very collaborative process," Lansing said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing those discussions, presenting the House with our proposal by the 15th and participating in the hearings."
Lansing's comments came within less than a half hour after Kleckley, a Jindal ally, released his letter pressing for the specifics of the governor's plan.
Jindal wants the tax plan to be "revenue neutral," meaning the removal of nearly $3 billion in income taxes would be offset with other tax-generating items.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.