Legislative Session Ends with Tax Breaks

June 29, 2007

Reported by: Associated Press

Lawmakers have wrapped up the regular legislative session, negotiating a flurry of last minute tax breaks, while keeping in tact Governor Kathleen Blanco's spending plans.

An estimated $189 million in tax breaks for the new year that begins July 1st were sent yesterday to the governor's desk. That's slightly more than the $180 million limit Blanco set before she said she would use her veto pen.

Republican lawmakers lamented the size of next year's nearly $30 billion budget and the defeat of some of the tax breaks they sought. Represntative Jim Tucker of Terrytown says he and his G-O-P colleagues put up a good fight, but overall lost on expenditures.

The largest tax break approved would go to taxpayers who itemize on their income tax forms.

But lawmakers also sent Blanco a litany of tax break proposals that would kick in a year after the 2007-2008 budget and could saddle the next governor's administration with hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. Those include a repeal of the gift tax, a tax break for the working poor and a one-time tax break for homeowners with large property insurance increases.

Blanco says she hasn't decided about vetoes, noting she couldn't even keep up with the total price tag for all the tax cuts approved by lawmakers.