House passes bill to phase out the extra portion of the state sales tax

House members voted on Thursday in support of a proposal by Rep. lance Harris, R-Alexandria, to phase out the extra sales tax until 2023. (Photo credit: Hunter Lovell, LSU Manship School News Service)

By: Tryfon Boukouvidis, LSU Manship School News Service

Published: May 23, 2019

BATON ROUGE–The Louisiana House on Thursday voted 73-21 to pass a bill that would phase out the extra portion of the state sales tax that the Legislature renewed last year after five months of partisan tensions to address recurring budget crises.

The proposal 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.

Last year lawmakers struck a compromise under which the sales tax extension would expire in 2025. This would give lawmakers time to find more permanent solutions to the state’s fiscal shortfalls.

“If you are fine with extracting excessive money out of the taxpayer’s pockets,” said the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, “then you don’t have to vote for this bill.”

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

The highest ranking Democrat in the House, Rep. Walt Leger of New Orleans, who supports Gov. John Bel Edwards’ position to maintain the sales tax, added an amendment during the debate that would take 0.05 percent of the 0.45 percent sales tax, or $42.5 million a year, to fund early childhood education.

“This is where we need to be investing and this gives us an opportunity to do it,” Leger said.

Read more in KALB.

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