Lawmakers advance proposed tax hikes without voting on them

Lawmakers advance proposed tax hikes without voting on them

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Under pressure to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, state lawmakers moved one step toward raising taxes Tuesday.

The first hurdle was cleared for more than 30 bills to raise taxes and cut tax breaks. Including the most vital of all Governor John Bel Edwards' tax proposals, the 'clean penny' sales tax from Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe.

It would bring in an immediate $220 million. That's nearly two-thirds of all proposed new tax money from Gov. John Bel Edwards. The governor's entire proposal depends on it.

Tax hikes on all types of alcohol and cigarettes also advanced Tuesday.

Taxes on most types of alcohol have not been raised since the 1940s. However, the tax on cigarettes was just raised 50 cents last year.

"This would impose an additional 22 cents per pack," said Rep. Walt Leger, D-New Orleans. "It would make the total tax from 86 cents to $1.08, which is the average of Arkansas, Texas and Mississippi."

More than 30 tax measures were advanced, but without any individual stamp of approval from committee members.

Lawmakers moved the bills without voting on them, making it unclear which ones will have enough support on the House floor and which ones will likely die.

"I can assure you, nobody wants to raise taxes of any sort," said Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. "We could have never taken in 104 votes on every bill. We would still be here. The entire week's work that we put in led to today where we could be efficient and 'streamline."

The bills are expected to voted on by the full House starting Thursday.

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