The Legislature is poised to once and for all wash it hands of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s call to eliminate the state’s personal and corporate income taxes. Jindal had already abandoned an ambitious plan to eliminate the income taxes and replace the lost revenue with a sharp spike in the state sales tax, telling state lawmakers at the commencement of the session that although he was abandoning the so-called “tax swap,” he still wanted the Legislature the eliminate the income taxes and (miraculously) figure out how to offset the loss in revenue.
But on Monday, state Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, announced that Jindal’s fantasy will probably not rise to the level of reality. Robideaux is the chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee — the launch pad, more or less, for any such revisions to the Louisiana tax code to take flight. In a statement released Monday, Robideaux says he will indefinitely defer any income tax repeal bills, although he does leave the door open for individual lawmakers to have such bills heard before the committee:
Over the last several months we have all grappled with the issues involved when considering the repeal of the income tax – either immediately, or over time.
I personally want to thank the Governor for opening up debate on this issue. It is my hope that the work done these past few months can serve as the foundation for an ongoing debate on how to best reform our state’s tax structure.
Since the Governor’s address to the legislature last week, I have spoken with numerous members of the House including legislative leaders. I have talked at length with Speaker Kleckley about our shared concerns and how to best resolve this matter.
I have also reviewed the analysis of the policy community – CABL, PAR and LABI.
As a result, my preference is that we should indefinitely defer consideration of these bills. This is a difficult, but I believe, necessary action.
That being said, I respect the legislative process, and since I’ve scheduled the bills for a hearing, if a member wants their bill heard, I will honor that request.