The bill Barras supports but Henry doesn't think is needed, would cause business taxes to rise. It failed to get out of the House on Sunday night by just four votes.The update from this afternoon is, they still can't move this penny-cleaning bill. They're trying. It's just that they really hate taxes that aren't paid mostly by poor people. Which is why they're still pushing their idea to raise another penny or half penny regardless of what happens here.
House Bill 61 would remove several exceptions from a quarter of the existing sales tax. If passed, the business community would have to pay sales taxes on major equipment purchases and business utilities that they don't currently pay. Sales tax holidays -- such as the ones that happen before the school year as well as hurricane and hunting seasons -- wouldn't be as generous.
The legislation would produce $20 million to help with the $900 million deficit in the current budget year, which must by resolved by June 30. It would also produce $116 million for the projected $2 billion shortfall in the next fiscal cycle, which starts July 1.
Barras, House GOP Caucus leader Lance Harris, several other Republican representatives, and almost every Democrat voted for the legislation Sunday night. But Henry was absent during the vote. Since the bill failed by just four votes, his support might have made a difference.
An additional 0.6-cent increase in the sales tax would raise enough to fill what Edwards says is a $147 million gap based on the tax and spending measures that the House and Senate appear likely to approve before the special session ends. (The full penny already approved by each chamber would raise $210 million this year.)Not sure that's how I would have put it but the Governor is being diplomatic. The fact of the matter is the LABI crowd doesn't want to sacrifice anything at all.
But Edwards told reporters Sunday night that he doesn’t favor going beyond the 1-cent sales tax increase because it hits the poor the hardest. He signaled, however, that he might support it if lawmakers approve higher taxes on businesses that business lobbyists have been opposing.
“I am not open to it until there is due consideration of all measures,” he said. “It has to be shared sacrifice.”