Friday, May 25, 2018

Countdown to Shutdown

On yesterday's episode of the Sinking of the Sixth Special Session, we saw the Ways and Means committee reject the Governor's preferred 4.5 cent sales tax proposal  and pass Lance Harris's wholly inadequate 4.3 cent alternative.

Of course the Governor's proposal is regressive and bad but we already know this thing is circling the drain anyway. And at least that bill, had it passed, would have represented a good faith compromise measure toward covering a substantial part of the shortfall.  But good faith went out the window well before we reached this point. Harris all but admitted as much yesterday during a particularly testy committee meeting
"You have to work with the other sides and you have to talk to them," Rep. Major Thibaut, D-New Roads, told Harris Thursday. "I think we have to start working together and not going into our little rooms."

Harris said he is attempting to compromise. He doesn't like taxes and he never thought he would sponsor legislation to retain a higher sales tax rate. Neither did his spouse. "My wife told me not to come home last night," said Harris.

Harris said he would be unwilling to increase the amount of money that his sales tax bill would raise, even from $369 million to $400 million. House Democrats said that means Harris is not willing to work with them or with the Senate, whose members are likely to want more tax revenue.

"It's a compromise that I'm even bringing this bill," Harris said.
It's a compromise that we're even here yelling at each other in the first place.

What is even happening? On today's episode, so far they've already rejected Walt Leger's expansion of the Earned Income Tax Exemption. This was one of several points of compromise Democrats were asking for in order to commit to any sort of sales tax measure.  So it's no surprise tight now that it doesn't look like they're ready to hop on board
NEW ORLEANS, LA - In response to the proposed extension of sales taxes, State Rep. Gary Carter, Jr.  (D - New Orleans) issued the following statement:

“Either today or very soon, we will be asked to vote for a continuation of the sales tax. During the last legislative session, I explained in the below video why I am against the sales tax: 1) It is harder on working people than on the wealthy; 2) It doesn't raise enough revenue to prevent drastic cuts; and 3) There is still no funding in the budget for additional infrastructure and additional educational opportunities.”

Representative Gary Carter added that until the proposal takes these considerations into account he will remain opposed to the continuation of the sales tax.
Floor debate is about to get started this afternoon.  This very bad sales tax bill is the only game in town revenue wise.  Hope everybody has their plans set for the Shutdown holiday.

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