Inventory tax repeal derailed
BATON ROUGE- Plans to start moving the pieces of a budget-balancing package of tax changes this week got derailed Monday.
The Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee was scheduled to consider a bill by Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, that would repeal a local property tax on inventory. The repeal would save the state an estimated $500 million a year on a tax credit tied to that inventory tax.
But at the last minute, Adley pulled Senate Bill 85 from consideration.
He said there were questions about the financial analysis, which showed no savings from the repeal in the upcoming budget year. He also said questions were raised about possible implications on education financing.
"I don't want to move forward unless I've got accurate numbers," Adley said.
No follow-up hearing date from the Senate committee has been set, and Adley's proposal faces strong resistance from parishes and municipalities that rely on the inventory tax revenue to pay their bills.
According to the East Baton Rouge Parish Tax Assessor's office, 10% of its tax base ($43 million) is from the inventory tax. $16 million goes to schools.
According to the West Baton Rouge Parish Tax Assessor's office, 20% of its tax base ($9 million) is from the inventory tax. $3.4 million goes to schools.
According to the Livingston Parish Tax Assessor's office, 4% of its tax base ($3.3 million) is from the inventory tax. $1.1 million goes to schools.
According to the Ascension Parish Tax Assessor's office, $11.3 million of its inventory tax revenue goes to schools.
With that proposal temporarily shelved, the House Ways and Means Committee then scrapped plans to hear legislation Tuesday that would scale back tax break programs and raise the cigarette tax.
Ways and Means Chairman Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, said lawmakers on his committee don't want to vote on "revenue-raisers" without the Senate advancing the inventory tax piece of the legislative package.
Lawmakers are trying to find a way to raise new dollars to help close a $1.6 billion budget gap in next year's budget.