The leader of the state’s chief business lobby is warning of troubled legal waters ahead for some of the $664 million in tax increases approved by the Louisiana House.
“State representative reduced tax credits and exemptions by only a majority vote last week, which is a risky maneuver considering the Constitution explicitly requires a two-thirds vote to raise taxes and to repeal tax exemptions,” Louisiana Association of Business and Industry President Stephen Waguespack wrote in a column published Monday.
Waguespack noted that the House leadership relied on a 1993 attorney general’s opinion in determining only a simple majority vote was needed.
According to Waguespack, the opinion “actually reiterates the fact that a two-thirds vote was needed. That opinion clearly authorizes a majority vote only in the case of resolutions to suspend laws; only one tax vote last week was by resolution.”
“This parliamentary decision could put any final budget solution in a legally precarious position,” he wrote.
The Louisiana House passed a series of bills last Thursday aimed at generating money to help fill a $1.6 billion hole in the Jindal administration’s budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
The House Appropriations Committee met Monday to advance the $24 billion proposed state operating budget, using the tax revenues to restore higher education funding.
Health care programs, including the Jindal administration’s LSU hospitals public-private partnership deals, were left wanting.