Budget, tax reform topics at Jeff Davis Business breakfast - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Budget, tax reform topics at Jeff Davis Business breakfast

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The governor's tax reform proposal includes the possibility of doing away with state income tax. Well, suppose you have a tax credits or exemption coming to you on your state income taxes? Would you still get it if there's no state income tax?

"When it comes to politics, if you're not at the table, you're on the menu. So, if you don't want to be on the menu, now's your chance,"said David Duplechain, with the Jeff Davis Business Alliance.

Members gathered to discuss legislative issues with State Senator Dan "Blade" Morrish, R-Jennings, and Representative Johnny Guinn, R-Jennings.

The lawmakers had breakfast with the Jeff Davis Business Alliance and spoke about the issues ranging from budget balancing to tax reform.

Said Guinn, "It's going to be a very contentious session. I'm not necessarily sold on the idea that  income tax swap for sales tax is a good idea."

Morrish discussed the difficulties they face in balancing the budget.

"In the governor's budget, he claims there are no cuts to higher education. Well, there are cuts to higher education. They're offset by a tuition increase," said Morrish.

Another issue related to tax reform and raising revenue -- all those special interest credits and exemptions. Morrish said they'll probably get rid of some.

"We have the highest credit for solar in the United States. And so, I think we're looking at cutting that. It's been pretty expensive to the state," said Morrish.

Yet, if state income tax is done away with, then what happens to the credits people can claim?

Said Morrish, " If we do away with the state income tax, how do you get that credit if you've earned it?" Credits such as the one homeowners get for citizens property insurance, he said.

Another issue: What's coming in 2014 as far as access to health care in the state? Morrish said we're going to hear the issue of Medicaid expansion and the insurance exchanges which are a part of Obamacare.

"As you know, Governor Jindal and the Louisiana Legislature have decided we're not going to create our own insurance exchange, that we will use the federal exchange; and Governor Jindal has also decided he's not going to participate in Medicaid expansion," said Morrish.

They are issues to be taken up at a Joint Senate & House Insurance Committee meeting in Baton Rouge. That committee meeting is at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Baton Rouge.

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