Kleckley comments on panel’s decision not to hear Jindal tax repeal bills

BATON ROUGE, LA (KPLC) - House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, responded Monday to lawmakers declaring Gov. Bobby Jindal's push to repeal Louisiana's income taxes dead for the session after a House tax committee refused to discuss the proposals.

Kleckley said "it would not be fiscally responsible" if lawmakers "moved a bill removing the state income tax without replacing the revenue."

The House Ways and Means Committee deferred action Monday on all tax repeal bills, with the committee chairman, Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, saying the panel doesn't intend to hear them this session.

"From the beginning, my priority has been to make sure we have precise numbers and that we replace the revenue. Members I have spoken to since this issue began, in the fall, have agreed with this approach," Kleckley said.

Kleckley said that he and Robideaux have discussed how to proceed with this week's hearings.

"And I am in support of his decisions," Kleckley said.

Robideaux also released a statement Monday regarding the income tax repeal bills. Below is that statement:

"Over the last several months we have all grappled with the issues involved when considering the repeal of the income tax – either immediately, or over time.

I personally want to thank the Governor for opening up debate on this issue.  It is my hope that the work done these past few months can serve as the foundation for an ongoing debate on how to best reform our state's tax structure.

Since the Governor's address to the legislature last week, I have spoken with numerous members of the House including legislative leaders.  I have talked at length with Speaker Kleckley about our shared concerns and how to best resolve this matter.

I have also reviewed the analysis of the policy community – CABL, PAR and LABI.

As a result, my preference is that we should indefinitely defer consideration of these bills. This is a difficult, but I believe, necessary action. 

That being said, I respect the legislative process, and since I've scheduled the bills for a hearing, if a member wants their bill heard, I will honor that request."

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.