Committee advances bill to phase out half-cent sales tax by 2023

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Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, presents his proposal before the House Appropriations Committee on Monday to phase out the extra 0.45 of a cent of the state sales tax that the Legislature extended last year. (Photo credit: Tryfon Boukouvidis, LSU Manship School News Service)

By: Tryfon Boukouvidis, LSU Manship School News Service

Published: May 20, 2019

BATON ROUGE — The House Appropriations Committee on Monday advanced a proposal on a 12-5 vote along partisan lines that would phase out the portion of the state sales tax that the Legislature extended last year after nearly five months of partisan dispute.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, would reduce the extra 0.45 of a cent of sales tax by one-tenth of a penny every year from 2020 to 2022 and repeal the rest in 2023.

Under this proposal, the state is projected to lose $392 million in revenues by 2024.

“This particular piece of legislation speaks to giving individuals and taxpayers some of the money back that we extract out of their pocket on a temporary basis,” Harris said.

Matthew Block, who represents the governor, expressed that Gov. John Bel Edwards–a Democrat seeking re-election this fall–does not support this proposal.

“This bill eliminates and tries to roll back a hard-fought but well-supported compromise in which not everybody got what they wanted,” Block asserted. Keeping the compromise in place, Block added, would put the state “on a sound fiscal footing for the first time in a long time.”

Read more in The Advertiser.

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