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Gov. Edwards' business tax gets its first hearing

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BATON ROUGE - Republican lawmakers on the House tax committee aren't showing an interest in Gov. John Bel Edwards' main business tax proposal.

The concept of a tax on business sales - a gross receipts tax - is getting its first legislative hearing Monday in the House Ways and Means Committee.

The tax would raise an estimated $416 million a year in new tax revenue, to help offset expiring sales taxes. But there's little public support for the proposal, even from the Democratic governor's allies.

In questioning, GOP lawmakers on the conservative, majority-Republican tax committee suggested Edwards' proposal could chase away business. Shreveport Rep. Alan Seabaugh said he expects businesses would pass the tax to consumers.

Edwards frames the tax as aimed at getting companies that use various loopholes to pay "their fair share."

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