Advertisers gearing up for potential media tax fight

Louisiana Department of Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield touched off a firestorm in the advertising and media worlds earlier this week when he confirmed that the state is considering charging a sales tax on media advertising purchases as part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s tax reform plan. “It has everyone scrambling,” says Becky Sadler, who handles membership issues for The American Advertising Federation of Baton Rouge. The local AAF chapter has arranged a meeting for its members to learn more about how such a tax might affect them and how they can voice their opposition. It’s taking place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the headquarters of Lamar Advertising Company, 5321 Corporate Blvd., Sadler says. Louisiana Press Association Executive Director Pam Mitchell says she’s also getting a lot of calls from her members about the possibility of the tax. “For our industry this is huge,” she says. “Everybody is concerned. But of course, the devil is in the details, and we don’t have those yet, so it’s hard to say right now how anyone might be affected.” Barfield has only said the state is considering such a tax—which has caused contentious debate in other states as well—but has not confirmed it will be a part of the detailed overhaul Jindal is slated to unveil Friday, March 15. —Steve Sanoski

Today’s poll question: Do you think a tax on media advertising purchases amounts to a tax on free speech?

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