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Chamber endorses amendments, renewals

Posted by: George Swift on Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Originally run in the American Press, November 1, 2021

Voters have an opportunity to make meaningful changes to the constitution of Louisiana which will result in a more business-friendly climate. The result of that will be increased investment and jobs for our people. The Board of the Directors of the Chamber SWLA are urging approval of all of the amendments to the Louisiana Constitution.

Amendment 1

Amendment 1 has no impact at all on the average citizen and it doesn’t raise or lower anyone’s taxes. What it does begin to do is to ease some significant administrative burdens that Louisiana retail businesses face that their out-of-state online competitors do not.

In Louisiana, like everywhere else, businesses are responsible for collecting sales taxes on behalf of state and local governments. In virtually every other state those businesses remit those taxes to a single governmental agency for distribution. The same is true in Louisiana if you are an out-of-state online seller. But if you are a business operating statewide in Louisiana, you mostly have to deal with 54 different agencies, many with different rules, overseeing different exemptions, and often providing different interpretations of their laws.

Amendment 1 simply seeks to fix that by allowing every business — online or not — to send those taxes to a single agency. It’s a positive move that Louisiana should embrace just like virtually every other state. (from CABL)

Amendment 2

Amendment 2 triggers implementation of a package of bills that swaps an unusual tax deduction that virtually no other states have for an across-the-board cut in individual and corporate income tax rates and a cut in corporate franchise taxes. For individuals, the top income tax rate would drop from 6 percent to 4.25 percent and similar reductions would be made in the other two brackets.

Because it’s a swap — loss of a deduction in exchange for lower rates — the impacts on people and the state are minimal. For the state it is basically revenue neutral, and the vast majority of individuals will see either a modest tax decrease or virtually no change at all.

But this change will greatly benefit Louisiana when it comes to making our state’s tax policy more attractive to people and businesses who might be looking to locate here. Why? Because our current tax burden is lower than our rates suggest thanks to a tax deduction almost no one has. If we get rid of what is basically an unseen deduction and replace it with lower rates that everyone will recognize, Louisiana’s tax policy becomes much more transparent and much more favorable to those looking to invest here. (from CABL)

Amendment 3

Allows certain levee districts to levy an annual

See SWIFT, B2

Continued from B1

tax for certain purposes

What it means: Levee Districts (created from 1/1/2006 to 10/9/2021) can levy property tax millages up to 5-mil without voter approval. This will guarantee that levee boards across the state will have equal opportunities for funding to combat floods.

Amendment 4

Increases amount of allowed reduction to certain dedicated funds when a budget deficit is projected

What it means: This amendment will allow the transfer of dedicated funds to fix a state budget deficit.

The details:

1. The Louisiana budget must balance each and every year.

2. There are several untouchable funds that legislators can’t cut to balance the budget.

3. Education and health care are not “dedicated” making them the easier targets when budget cuts are needed.

The Chamber SWLA Board of Directors also supports:

• A tax renewal which funds the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office (listed as Parishwide Law Enforcement District – ¼ percent S&U Tax Renewal – Sheriff – 10 Yrs.).

• A tax renewal funding for the Town of Iowa (listed as Town of Iowa – ½ percent S&U Tax Renewal – M&TC – Perp.)

Also on the ballot in Louisiana Senate District 27 is an election to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Sen. Ronnie Johns. There are three candidates: Dustin Granger –D; Jeremy Stine-R ; and Jake Shaneen-R.

Early voting is now underway through Saturday, Nov. 6. Early voting times are from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Early voting locations in Calcasieu Parish are: Lake Charles Registrar of Voters office, 2nd floor Historic Calcasieu Courthouse, 1000 Ryan St., Sulphur Law Enforcement Bldg, 500 A Huntington St., and Moss Bluff: Dynamic Dimensions, 602 Sam Houston Jones Parkway.

Or you may vote in person on the actual election day, Nov. 13 from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

We urge everyone to exercise their right to vote on these important matters.

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