Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Advocate editorial hits Stelly repeal

The Advocate gets it exactly right in this editorial. When the legislature overturned the tax reforms in the Stelly plan, the stage was set for the fiscal crisis facing Louisiana today.

Problem is, that's pretty much water under the bridge. The Stelly reforms have been so thoroughly poisoned by political opportunists that bringing up the subject is close to pointless.

But there is a gold mine of information in the Budget Project report that can move the debate beyond Stelly. More than 440 tax expenditures - those are tax revenues that are spent on various rebates and tax incentives - cost the state some $7 billion a year.

No doubt, many of those breaks are valuable and necessary. But repealing just a fraction of them would solve our budget woes.

When shills for big business claim that Louisiana has the highest business taxes in the nation, they are right. But thanks to the myriad exemptions, most businesses don't pay those taxes.

Next year's legislative session will be fiscal. Now is the time to open the discussion on Louisiana's hidden budget, and to question the list of tax breaks offered up by the state.

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