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Crowley Representative’s Tax Bill Fails As La. Budget Debate Continues

State Representative Jack Montoucet
State Representative Jack Montoucet

Several bills have advanced through the La. House and Means Committee to the La. House floor that limit the amount of tax breaks Louisiana doles out. One bill in particular, by Crowley Representative Jack Montoucet, would have cut tax credit programs by 5%, raising state revenues by an estimated $47 million. But that bill failed in committee by a 18-1 vote on Monday.

These measures will be used in a budget deal House members are working to approve later this week. The Jindal administration opposes any attempt to reduce certain tax breaks. Watch Jindal’s response below:

Transcript of Gov. Jindal’s address:

“You know, it appears there is a plan downstairs. It appears there’s a movement among some members of the House, to adopt a secret plan to raise taxes on Louisiana’s families and businesses by as much as up to $500 million. And I’m here to say that’s wrong.

“The reality is the public deserves the right to know what’s in the plan. They deserve the right to actually have a chance to comment on this plan.

“That opportunity is in committee. By moving these shell bills out of committee, the Legislature, the House committee is actually denying the people of Louisiana the chance to make their voices heard.

“And that’s wrong. Especially when you consider the fact that the Legislature will be considering – could be considering later this week – the largest tax increase we have seen in this state in decades, literally going all the way back to the 1980s.”

Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret says these bills have him more than worried.

I’m not just concerned but I’m gravely concerned about this bill and the impact that it would have on the business image of Louisiana and the impact that it would have on job creation, not just in the future but literally in the next few months.

The Louisiana Republican Party says House members are looking at raising taxes by $500 million but exact details of a reworked spending plan for next fiscal year were not discussed during the committee meeting. Houma Representative Lenar Whitney says the bills heading to the House floor will raise taxes on Louisiana businesses.

This burden is basically put on the business owners and not on the responsibility of the government to operate within its own means and not have to raise taxes on the businesses in order to pay for the deficit.

But Rep. Montoucet says his failed bill should not be looked at as a tax increase:

There’s going to be a spin out there, certainly, to put this as a tax increase, but remember they get to keep 95%.

Again, that bill was defeated on Monday.

Committee Chairman Joel Robideaux of Lafayette says more details of their budget plan should be released by Tuesday morning. “At that point we will certainly make whatever that agreement is public for both the membership and the public in general and place that out on the web via press release to let everyone know what the House’s intentions are,” says Robideaux.

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