Senate committee attempts to close budget gap by eliminating business tax exemptions

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Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, listening to questions Wednesday from senators about his sales tax bill. (Tryfon Boukouvidis, LSU Manship School News Service)

Tryfon Boukouvidis

With the clock ticking down, a Senate committee on Wednesday amended a House Republican bill to sharply increase the revenue that it would raise to $642 million from $365 million to address a looming budget shortfall.

The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee agreed to keep a proposed extension of a third of a penny of sales tax rather than increasing it to a half cent, as many analysts had expected. But the panel was still able to raise so much more revenue by eliminating tax exemptions for various industries.

It also voted to remove a House provision that would have ended the extra third of a cent of sales tax in 2023.

The bill now moves to the Senate floor. Senate passage would set up a showdown with the more conservative House, and a conference committee with members of both chambers would have resolve the differences before the special legislative session expires on Monday.

Read the story in BIZ.

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