Economists present new tax study to lawmakers

Economists present new tax study to lawmakers

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two economists who presented a new tax study to Louisiana lawmakers Tuesday claim they want people and businesses to keep more of their hard earned money.

The men behind the study are proposing that the legislature lower certain tax rates and broaden the tax base. The study was presented at the Louisiana State Capitol.

The pair suggests lowering the state personal income tax to among the lowest rates in the South. They want it dropped to either 1 percent, 3 percent or 5 percent. They also suggest lowering corporate tax rates to 5 percent.

Louisiana's 8 percent corporate tax is the highest in the South.

"Make it very appealing for people to come here," said Dr. Jim Richardson, an economics professor at LSU.

And to "broaden the base" Richardson said cutting a number of tax exemptions would bring in more tax dollars from more people across the state.

"We can simplify the system, make it much shorter and sweeter to deal with," said Dr. Richardson.

This is the first tax study of its kind since 1987 and was requested by House Speaker Chuck Kleckley last year.

"We have a broken tax structure here in the state of Louisiana that needs to be revisited. And something needs to be done," said Speaker Kleckley, R-Lake Charles.

Richardson and his team also touched on the state sales tax. They want it restructured so personal services are taxed.

The economists said the proposals are long-term fixes to the state budget. Richardson called it a three-year process.

"You tell us how much money you need and we'll tell you how you might raise it," said Dr. Richardson.

Richardson said these proposals are long-term solutions, not fixes to this year's $1.6 billion shortfall.

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