Treasurer: Tax reform proposal should require popular vote

Treasurer: Tax reform proposal should require popular vote
Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 8:30pm

UPDATED: Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 8:34pm

The current proposal to reform the state's tax code will impact every Louisiana taxpayer and therefore should be brought before voters in a statewide election, according to State Treasurer John Kennedy.

"There are a lot of moving parts in the Administration's income tax proposal, and it's complicated," said Treasurer Kennedy. "The plan is to eliminate all income taxes in Louisiana, but rather than filling the hole left in the budget by reducing spending, they're proposing to fill the hole by raising other taxes. There will be some winners and some losers under this plan, but one thing we know is it will impact every taxpayer, consumer and business in the state. Therefore, we owe it to Louisiana taxpayers to let them vote up or down on the issue."

Over the past 25 years, there have been three major tax reform efforts in Louisiana. In the late 1980s, Governor Roemer tried to pass a constitutional amendment containing complex changes to the state's tax code. In 2002, Governor Foster passed a constitutional amendment that swapped certain sales taxes and income taxes. Louisiana voters decided the fate of both measures. The Administration's current income tax proposal requires legislative approval but will not be going to taxpayers for a vote because it is not a constitutional amendment.

"I'm not suggesting the tax proposal should be part of our constitution," Treasurer Kennedy said. "There is legal precedent that would allow for a statewide vote without amending the constitution. The state already does this in instances where we require voter approval to borrow money. Besides, this isn't just a legal issue; it's a moral one."  

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