Since February of 2016, the citizens of Louisiana have been subjected to historic sales tax increases and tax revisions that have taken billions out of their pockets. Without these increases, our seniors would have been thrown out of their nursing homes, our children wouldn’t have TOPS funding to attend college, and, of course, LSU football would have been canceled. At least, that’s what we were told…
Legislators have been called into a record-setting seven “Special Sessions” from 2016 -2018 to address the self-inflicted budget woes of our state. It was very obvious in each of these Special Sessions that the only plan to “fix” the budget was to increase taxes. Heaven forbid that we act responsibly and quit growing the size of government!
In 2016, the legislature passed a “temporary” 1% sales tax increase that would roll off inJuly 2018. We were told that the tax was meant to solve the immediate budget problem and buy us some time to right-size government. Despite the legislature’s promise, here is what the people were told by our Governor.
“On July 1, 2018, the additional penny of sales tax will roll off, as well as a temporary reduction of tax credits, incentives and deductions. Combined, these measures make up a $1 billion budget shortfall that must be addressed by either replacing the revenue or imposing deep budget cuts across state government that would be unsustainable in many cases.”
Because the Governor and legislature refused to actually reign in the out of control government spending, in January of 2018 we were told that we were just a half step away from the entire state falling off the “Fiscal Cliff”. The promise of a temporary sales tax turned out to be another empty promise. It’s easy to see why Louisiana citizens have no trust or faith in our government.
January of 2018, we were told that Louisiana was going to be short almost ONE BILLION DOLLARS! These drastic times called for drastic measures – like kicking elderly residents out of nursing homes. By May 2018, the cliff had miraculously shrunk to $650,000,000. After months of debate, a bill was passed in the Third Special Session of 2018 to pass a new 0.45% sales tax for seven more years. This new tax was projected to generate $463 million dollars.
The citizens were told that this wasn’t a tax increase, but actually a tax cut because they would be getting back ½ of every penny. It was an insult to the intelligence of every Louisiana citizen to be told their taxes were being reduced. That insult continues to be spread today, and it must stop!
Fast forward to the end of 2018…our state is doing so well that we have $300 million budget SURPLUS. Yep, that’s right… we went from being almost one billion dollars in the hole to having EXTRA money! Now that we are flush with cash, everyone is fighting to get some of these extra dollars for themselves.
Here’s the problem… this surplus money belongs to the citizens of Louisiana!
It is obvious that our state didn’t NEED this additional tax; and, if we don’t repeal this revenue, the state will find ways to spend every half-cent of it over the next seven years.
State government is a beast that will never be satisfied because we can never afford its appetite.
District 9 did not support any of the tax increases. They said “no” to the government that raided their wallets and took the hard-earned money from their pockets. They stood firm and hoped against hope that our state would finally be forced to live within its means. As someone who firmly stands with the people, I fought for them every day through these sessions. Unfortunately, not enough of us stood strong against our out of control government, and we were forced to give even more of our hard-earned money to the coffers of Louisiana.
I have filed HB 584 to repeal this sales tax and return the money to its rightfu lowners…YOU, the citizens of Louisiana! It’s time Louisiana stops trying to balance the budget on the backs of our taxpayers. This is best illustrated by Winston Churchill’s statement, “I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”
Finally, if you are a tax-paying citizen of Louisiana and agree with me, please contact your legislators and ask them to support HB 584.
Dodie Horton, Louisiana State Representative for District 9