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Sunday, November 18, 2018



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Edwards hoping to release tax ideas by end of next week

Edwards hoping to release tax ideas by end of next week

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. John Bel Edwards hopes to have a framework of tax proposals for a planned June special session to lawmakers by the end of next week.

That was the word Friday from state Revenue Secretary Kim Robinson and the governor's spokesman, Richard Carbo.

Edwards wants to call lawmakers into a June special session to make tax changes to help close a $600 million budget gap and stave off deep cuts to state programs. Lawmakers can't deal with taxes in the current regular session that ends June 6.

The governor asked a study group on budget and tax policy created by lawmakers to give him recommendations for ways to raise money to fill financial gaps, even though the task force's report isn't due until September.

Rather than specifics, the study group took a more general approach, suggesting Friday that the talk focus on income taxes and tax credits, and that the sales tax shouldn't be boosted any further than the current 5 percent rate. Lawmakers just increased the sales tax earlier this year.

The group suggested looking at changes to individual and corporate income taxes, including exemptions and deductions; at the tax brackets compared with neighboring states; and the costs and benefits of tax break programs.

It also suggested that the governor and lawmakers consider setting limits on spending and, if revenues from prior tax hikes come in above estimates, steering that money to one-time expenses like debt payments and infrastructure improvements.

"We took, I think, the broad view," said Robinson, who co-chairs the task force.

For more specific ideas ahead of its September report, the study group suggested Edwards and lawmakers review two studies of Louisiana's tax structure.

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