House bill could repeal LA income tax

A set of bills in the Louisiana House could eliminate Louisiana's corporate and personal income taxes.

House Bill 633 would eliminate corporate income taxes, while House Bill 634 would phase out personal income taxes if the bills pass.

Republican Rep. Hunter Greene introduced the measure that would strip nearly a billion dollars from state coffers in the upcoming fiscal year and about $15 billion over five years.

"The consensus in the House of Representatives is that we certainly would like to pay less taxes," said Rep. Michael E. Danahay (D) with District 33. "By reducing the personal income tax or the corporate income tax, that puts more money into the economy through those reductions."

If the bill passes and the revenue is not replaced, however, the tax repeal would force steep cuts in state services and agencies.

"The elimination of revenue is just cold turkey, and it would have a significant impact on the institutions that rely upon it in the state of Louisiana,' said Rep. Danahay.

Residents in Lake Charles claimed they would not mind not having to pay personal income tax. However, residents do question what the catch is the proposal.

Christian Bellard of Lake Charles attends school at Sowela Technical College. Bellard fears that his school could face cuts if the revenue is not replaced.

"It could take away from the federal assistance program that I go through to help pay for books," said Danahay.

Republican Rep. Hunter Greene has shelved, at least temporarily, his proposals to eliminate Louisiana's corporate and personal income taxes. Greene said he wants to prompt a legislative discussion about changes in the state tax code and the size of state government. Greene said he may try to bring up the proposals again later this session.

The Senate is scheduled to consider a similar idea Wednesday.

Governor Bobby Jindal said he is not taking the proposals seriously because lawmakers haven't offered any plan for how they would cope with the loss of the money without devastating health care and education.