by C.B. Forgotston
“If Louisiana were to eliminate its personal income tax and most corporate taxes and instead rely almost exclusively on sales tax for revenue, a purely static breakdown shows the state would have to make up almost $3 billion.” Times Picayune, article.
Times Picayune columnist and Jindal supporter James Varney recently wrote about an interview with LA Department of Revenue Executive Counsel (There is no Secretary of Revenue.) Tim Barfield. (Column here.)
Barfield is Bobby Jindal’s point man on the proposed tax swap. Barfield is meeting secretly with members of the lege explaining the tax swap.
Varney writes: “…eliminating the personal income tax also wipes clean “hundreds” of exemptions, thereby automatically increasing the taxable pool and shrinking the $3 billion figure.”
Eliminating the personal income tax exemptions will NOT increase the tax base. The only way to broaden the tax base requires repealing sales, severance and various other tax exemptions on taxes that will continue to exist.
Varney also writes about centralized sales tax collection: “In the case of sheriffs, often one of the chief tax collectors… has been greeted enthusiastically by most, Barfield said, because it means more deputies for police duties.”
Sheriffs are often ad valorem property tax collectors; not sales tax collectors. Most often it is the Parish School Board that collects local sales taxes. According to a 2002 report by the LA Department of Revenue (here) only 5 of the 64 sheriffs collect local sales taxes. There may be fewer now.
This begs the question of what other erroneous or misleading information is Barfield telling the leges? An even bigger question is whether the leges know that the information is not correct?