Legislators say tax plan needs more study

In response to the authors of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax plan bill pulling the bill from the legislative session, local legislators say the plan, which would have eliminated the state income tax, needs to be studied more to determine how it would affect the state.

Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin said the bill was not “killed” but was “voluntarily pulled” because the authors of the bill knew they did not have enough votes in the state House of Representatives.

Jones said he has heard from legislators over the past couple days, and said they do not see any sense in cutting revenues from the budget when the state already has a $1.3 billion deficit with the current budget.

Jones spoke Monday with state Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, about the tax plan, and “there wasn’t any support on the committee nor was there support in the House itself,” Jones said.

Moving forward, Jones said the Legislature needs “to take care of the budget problems and spend our time on that.”

“It’s a very short session. And we have to spend our time in the next couple weeks on putting a budget together and getting it over to the Senate. So, I think the focus is going to shift to that,” Jones said.

The legislative session ends on June 6.

State Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, said the Senate had not seen anything yet to be able to analyze the tax bill.

“It was kind of a shock that the governor pushed so hard, then pulled back,” Allain said.

Allain said eliminating the state income tax sounds good, but the state must find something to responsibly replace it.

“I don’t think anybody’s come up with an answer to that,” Allain said. “I understand they’re still having discussions, and I look forward to the fruits of those discussions. But, really, right now, I don’t have anything to go on.”

The Legislature needs to focus on solving the state’s budget problems in areas such as education and charity hospitals, Jones said.

“Something like this should have a full study by independent professionals,” Jones said of Jindal’s tax plan.

“To go through without an analysis or study like that would be irresponsible,” he said. “And, I think that’s how just about everybody in the Legislature feels right now,” Jones said.

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