The 2002 voter-approved plan that eliminated sales taxes on residential utilities and groceries in exchange for tax increases for middle- and upper-income residents — known as the Stelly Plan after its sponsor, former Rep. Vic Stelly — is emerging as campaign issue in the races for secretary of state and lieutenant governor, according to a report by the Associated Press’ Melinda Deslatte.

The Stelly plan was later repealed under Gov. Bobby Jindal, although the tax breaks on groceries and utilities were maintained, leading to a sharp decline in revenue and, in part, the fiscal pickle the state has been in for the last few years. But even though the Stelly Plan was voter-approved in the form of a constitutional amendment, the Legislature also approved the plan, and two former state senators who are now the incumbent secretary of state and lieutenant governor — Tom Schedler and Jay Dardenne, respectively — are being slammed by their opponents for voting for the plan almost a decade ago.

Dardenne, who is in a heated race with Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, defends his vote. Schedler, facing off against House Speaker Jim Tucker, is more nuanced in his defense.

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