BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - "I held my nose and voted for it." That's how state representative Stephen Dwight described his path to casting a vote for a one-cent increase in the state sales tax. This move will go a long way toward solving Louisiana's immediate budget crisis, but it means that everyone here will be paying the highest average sales tax in the nation when state and local taxes are both taken into account.
It's only a temporary solution to the current crisis. With about a week left in the special session, lawmakers are struggling to close the gap between government spending we can't afford and taxes we don't want to pay. We presume they will get the job done. That's when the real work needs to begin.
Our state tax code is broken, and the citizens of the state are also highly skeptical about the way the state is spending our money. The best thing that can come of this crisis is to force a complete review of both taxes and spending.
Our state's leaders need to dedicate themselves to this effort as soon as the special session ends.