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Sacrificing Fiscal Responsibility for Political Popularity

Posted on June 10, 2011

The Louisiana Budget Project cautions that three tax-related bills now moving through the State Legislature, if enacted, would cost Louisiana $3 billion annually in desperately needed revenue.

On June 10th, The Times-Picayune published “Tax elimination measures are folly,” an op-ed written by Louisiana Budget Project Director Edward Ashworth alerting readers to House Bills 633, 634, and Senate Bill 259 and their call to eliminate the state income tax for both individuals and corporations.

The Louisiana Budget Project believes state legislators should be looking for innovative ways to find more money to pay for essential state services, such as higher education, public schools, state prisons, public hospitals and other investments vital to Louisiana’s working families and the state’s economic future. Political popularity, notes LBP, should never substitute for fiscal responsibility.

Here is an excerpt:

Bills (House Bill 633, House Bill 634, and Senate Bill 259) are moving through both houses of the Legislature that would eliminate the state income tax for both individuals and corporations.  If enacted into law, Louisiana would face fiscal Armageddon: the price tag in lost revenue would be a staggering $3 billion every year. . .

. . .While the 2007 and 2008 tax cuts put the state in a severe economic crisis, they are nothing compared to what will happen if the state eliminates the taxes on individual and corporate incomes.  This radical and ill-timed political maneuvering risks driving Louisiana’s budget over the cliff. . .

. . . It is folly to propose eliminating the tax on individual and corporate income at a time when state spending cuts have cost hundreds of college faculty their jobs, have caused colleges to eliminate hundreds of academic programs, have reduced access to health care for thousands of Louisianans, have threatened economic recovery because of state worker layoffs, and have reduced funding for the economic development critical to attracting jobs to our state.

The full article is here.

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