Louisiana Budget Project: Sales tax will have big impact on consumers

Louisiana Budget Project: Sales tax will have big impact on consumers

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Tomorrow, your taxes are going up.

A one-cent sales tax increase goes into effect.

"Louisianans are going to be paying the highest combined sales tax in the country," said Jan Moller, the director for the Louisiana Budget Project. "That's
when you combine the state sales tax with what we pay at the local level. That's not a list where you want to be number one in the country on."

Moller says the increase will have a big impact on the Baton Rouge economy.

He says the average consumer will be impacted the most.

"This is gonna be a penny here and a penny there. But it's all going to add up over the years. So the average consumer is going to pay probably a couple hundred dollars more over the course of a year, to make up for this sales tax."

But it's not just the sales tax increase. Other changes will drive up the tax on the cost of a pack of cigarettes to $1.08. Meanwhile, the tax on liquor goes up to $0.80 per liter. And the increase on different kinds of wine will go up to between $0.35 and $0.55 per liter.

But it goes beyond just cigarettes and alcohol.

Even non-profits, like Theatre Baton Rouge, are going to have to start charging a sales tax.

In its 70-year existence, the theatre has never had to pay a sales tax until now.

Tomorrow tickets for musicals will go up from 29-dollars to 30-dollars and sixty cents.

Managing Director Jenny Ballard said there is some concern that sales will go down.

"I think that non-profits all over Louisiana are worried about that right now. I think that any time there's a change, there's a chance for negative change. But we are choosing to be as positive as we can about the situation."

The sales tax increase is said to be a temporary tax that, as of now, expires on June 30th, 2018. But Moller hopes the legislature revisits the issue and makes changes.

"I think the Governor and members of the legislature are committed to coming back next year and working out something permanent and we won't be lurching from crisis to crisis with our state budget."

Moller says small businesses won't be impacted as much as consumers but they will have to pay a little more for manufacturing.

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