State government is digging under every seat cushion for spare change. The governor seeks a fire sale of state assets. Every possible accounting trick or shuffling of funds is used to match federal funds to pay the bills.
In those circumstances, how did repeal of the state income tax get any serious consideration at all?
We commend members of the state House for blocking the irresponsible bill to phase out the personal income tax. The vote was 57-35 for an amendment by Rep. Chris Roy, D-Alexandria, that would require a commission to provide a plan for continuing state services; the addition of that element of responsibility led backers of the bill to return it to the House calendar.
Rep. Hunter Greene, R-Baton Rouge, said the Roy amendment was a charade to allow members to vote for an income tax repeal without making it happen. We believe Greene and others backing these repeal measures are the ones indulging in charades.
Where is the plan for replacing the lost revenue? Or, alternatively, where is the plan from Greene and others to shut down at least half of state services - from roads to prisons to medical care to colleges and schools?
Rep. Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, chairman of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee, said he already receives pleas for funding not to be cut. He questioned what would happen if the state’s personal income tax is eliminated.
His questions were not answered, really. Somebody will figure it out later, Greene said in essence.
Who is posturing here? At full repeal, about half the state general fund would go away. Backers of the repeal don’t want to attach their names to the cuts, or the new taxes that would be necessary to replace lost revenue.
This is not fiscal responsibility. This bill should never have advanced as far as it did.
That it did, though, ought to tell us something about the kind of Legislature we have.