Since the election for governor I have been watching the tax proposals forthcoming. As a 40-year resident of Louisiana I’ve noticed when shortfalls are looming, the boogie men are always dragged out — i.e. cuts to education and health care.
Columns in The Advocate by columnists Stephanie Grace on Feb. 12 and the great (spoof) article by Edward Pratt on Feb. 13 lead me to comment on the recent tax proposals by our new governor.
Louisiana is ranked 38 out of 51 states for state taxes. Sounds like we could stand an increase? However when local tax rates are included Louisiana ranks 4 out of 51 states. See taxfoundation.org/article/state-and-local-sales-tax-rates-2015.
The column by Grace has the governor stating that if his critics don’t like the 1-cent state tax and additional cigarette tax he would happy to consider others instead. I have not seen any different proposals. Here are mine.
I’m against any state sales tax increase because it would hurt the poor and those on fixed income. Beside the increase on everyday items, the additional tax on large purchases such as vehicles, new boats, farm, construction and factory equipment would be detrimental; businesses would pass this additional tax cost to the consumer.
I don’t have a dog in this race. I am also against an increase of the cigarette tax. Why base a tax on a behavior the state wants to do away with? What’s the results of last year’s increase? Smokers still buying, or have they decreased their smoking? If the state is serious about the dangers of smoking on the citizens of Louisiana why not outlaw the sale of tobacco products?
Ways to increase state revenue and spread the burden around: Increase tax on alcohol, the lottery and other forms of gambling. Tack on an additional tax to cable and wireless fees. Increase fees for all DMV functions, all driver’s licenses, residential and commercial. Raise vehicle registration and inspection fees, private and commercial. Raise hunting and fishing license fees, resident and commercial. Raise professional license fees.
We’re supposedly in this hole because of low oil prices. Well as long as the price of gasoline is below two dollars, add a special tax of 15 cents per gallon. When the price goes above $2, knock the tax back to 10 cents per gallon; above $3 knock the tax increase back to 5 cents per gallon. This would shore up state finances when oil prices drop.
Cuts? During the campaign there was talk around decreasing the number of state vehicles. Not much talk about it now. Do state vehicles have to be large SUVs and sedans?
F. R. Spagna Sr.
retired chemical industry worker