An article in the Times-Picayune in New Orleans on February 19th cited recent efforts by the Louisiana Budget Project and the grassroots movement Better Choices for a Better Louisiana to curb tax exemptions that drain state funding for education, health care, and other services that support low- and moderate-income families. Here is an excerpt:
Jindal said last week that he wants the Legislature to continue the state’s Quality Jobs Program, which provides tax rebates for companies that create new jobs that meet specific wage and benefit levels and is scheduled to sunset at the end of the year. He also wants to extend tax credits for companies that conduct research and development in Louisiana, firms that commercialize technology developed at Louisiana colleges, and digital media developers. Jindal said the tax breaks are “critical tools to ensure that we … have the ability to remain economically competitive.”
But the Louisiana Federation of Teachers said the proposal sends the wrong message in a week when Jindal also announced that financing for public schools would be frozen next year. The Louisiana Association of Educators and the Louisiana Budget Project also weighed in against the plan. “Because schools’ costs go up each year, a freeze is, in effect, a cut,” LBP director Edward Ashworth said. The group has called for a broad review of more than 440 tax breaks that are already on the books.