Dept. of Revenue responds to concerns over proposed tax plan

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Friday dozens of religious leaders gathered at the state capital to deliver a report that points out all of the flaws Governor Jindal's proposed tax plan. On Saturday, a state Department of Revenue spokesperson addressed theirs and many other concerns.

As it is written now, the plan will do away with the state income tax as well as corporate taxes, but sales taxes would increase and a tax would be added to services like haircuts and veterinary services.  Some of the state's religious groups have some worries about these changes.

"We are concerned that Louisiana already has one of the most regressive tax systems in the nation putting a disproportionately high burden on low and moderate income families," said C.S. Gordon, Jr., president of the Louisiana Missionary Baptist State Convention.

But Department of Revenue's Douglas Baker insists switching one tax for the other is best for everyone in the state.

"States that do not have personal income tax have been documented as drivers of economic growth for over a decade," said Baker. "We want to do this for the citizens of this state---to be able to keep more money in their pockets for their families."

Last week, a Lafayette area senator voiced his concerns about how the plan will affect the movie industry. Under the proposal, movie makers could pay actors whatever salary they want, but they cannot claim more than one million dollars per actor when applying for tax credits through the state.

"Those tax credits have made the industry desirable, and we want to maintain that desirability. We want a lot of movies shot in Louisiana, and we want a lot of Louisianans working in those movies," said Sen. Elbert Guillory (D- Opelousas).

Baker says they want the plan, which is still in the works, to help this growing industry.

"Certainly there's great interest in the movie industry in the state of Louisiana as it has been a driver of economic development in this state.," said Baker. "We're continuing to talk to those who are interested in this movie credit...both in the industry itself and other legislators who have interest of this in their districts."

The 2013 legislative session starts on April 8th.

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