Gov. Bobby Jindal said Tuesday that he will give legislators his tax plan in less than two weeks instead of waiting until the April start of session.
“We are still in the process of finishing up meetings with legislators and stakeholders so that we can gather their ideas and continue what has been a very collaborative process. We look forward to continuing those discussions, presenting the House with our proposal by the 15th and participating in the hearings,” the governor said in a prepared statement late Tuesday.
Jindal’s announcement came less than an hour after Louisiana House Speaker Chuck Kleckley publicly asked the Jindal administration to deliver its tax plan to legislators next week instead of waiting until April.
“I feel strongly that the House of Representatives should begin hearings on such an important issue. The public needs sufficient time to review the actual proposed legislation in order for members to receive feedback from their constituency,” Kleckley wrote the governor’s chief of staff, Paul Rainwater, in a publicly released letter.
Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, asked for the plan by March 15 in order to begin legislative hearings on March 19.
The plan will start in the House Committee on Ways and Means.
House Democratic leader John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, said he hopes the governor gives legislators the actual legislation instead of a skeletal plan next week.
“I’m happy. We’ll see if they follow through,” Edwards said.
The governor’s spokesman, Sean Lansing, said legislation will be filed by the end of next week.
In January, Jindal announced that he wants to eliminate the state’s personal income and corporate taxes in a budget-neutral way, requiring nearly $3 billion in revenue to be replaced.
In a handout given to legislators during briefings, Jindal called for raising the state sales tax nearly 2 cents per dollar, increasing the state cigarette tax by more than $1 per pack and eliminating severance tax exemptions.
The Jindal administration has released few details to the public on the plan and previously said the proposal would be released around the start of session.