Gov. John Bel Edwards is pushing back the public release of his tax overhaul package, probably until Wednesday, the governor’s spokesman said Sunday afternoon.
The governor had planned to provide the much-awaited details on Monday.
“We’re just waiting on a few more things,” Richard Carbo, the governor’s spokesman, said in an interview. The governor, he said, requested more information from Kimberly Robinson, his Revenue Department secretary.
Edwards met with his top tax, budget and legislative advisers throughout Saturday and also on Friday night in an effort to nail down the specifics.
Carbo said Edwards is still planning to propose replacing the state tax on corporate income with a corporate tax on sales known as a gross receipts tax. That proposal, something of a surprise given that it was not among the recommendations of a blue-ribbon task force on tax reform set up by Edwards, has gotten a cool reception so far.
“He has additional questions of the model we’re trying to do,” Carbo said.
Edwards’ postponement means lawmakers will have less than two weeks to digest his recommendations before they convene on April 10 for a 60-day regular session devoted primarily to taxes and the budget.
“We want to make sure we get it right,” Carbo said. “We don’t want to rush it. We still have plenty of time, we think.”
Edwards is also expected to propose not renewing the temporary one-cent increase in the state sales tax that legislators approved last year, a tax scheduled to expire next year. Instead, he wants legislators to tax an array of currently untaxed services to make up the nearly $1 billion that would be lost. His blue-ribbon panel recommended these changes.
Though the panel did not recommend moving to a gross receipts tax, Robinson said in a recent interview that the governor has chosen to go a different way because he believes lawmakers and the public don’t support the income tax measures recommended by the task force.
Besides the one-cent sales tax, another $250 million in taxes are also scheduled to expire in 2018, creating what Capitol insiders are calling a “fiscal cliff.” Legislators and the governor will have to make up the lost revenue through other tax increases, cuts in government spending or a combination of both.
Edwards has been discussing the general outlines of his tax plan privately with groups of legislators and business leaders from around the state. On Monday, he will meet with legislators from central Louisiana and later from Acadiana, to complete the circuit.