Current special session news

ULM Hawkeye

Although both the Louisiana House and Senate have approved to increase the state’s sales tax by an additional cent to help fill the budget gap, it seems as though that may not be enough. There is now a proposal in the House to raise sales tax by two cents.

House Democrats are concerned that a further increase in sales tax will disproportionately affect the poor. House Republicans are generally supportive of the proposal because it will avoid tax increases to businesses.

The House recently failed to approve a proposal for raising the alcohol tax by one cent.

At the beginning of the three-week special session the state’s budget deficit stood at an estimated $900 million for the current fiscal year. The Legislature has since voted to raise taxes on ciggarettes, to make more budget cuts and to draw revenue from the Rainy Day and BP settlement funds to close the gap. As of Friday, the budget shortfall was reportedly at $147 million.

The House will soon decide on a proposed “Earned Income Tax Credit” bill that would benefit the working poor.

The special session ends Wed., March 9.

Check out this graph for information on Louisiana’s educational funding over the years: TOPS graph