House to debate governor's tax plans to rebalance budget
BATON ROUGE- State House lawmakers are weighing whether to boost taxes on shoppers, smokers, drinkers, phone service and more as they try to end the boom-and-bust cycles of Louisiana's budget.
After days of closed-door negotiations, the House on Thursday is scheduled to debate more than 30 tax proposals aimed at raising new cash for state government.
The short-term problems are acute: Louisiana has a budget gap around $900 million that must be closed by June 30. Colleges and health care services are threatened with deep reductions if new dollars aren't found.
Next year's budget shortfall is even worse.
Gov. John Bel Edwards is asking lawmakers to raise taxes - and make spending reductions - to help close the gaps. But Republicans, particularly in the House, are reticent about some of the proposals.