Louisiana Legislature likely to keep one-cent sales tax hike, Dardenne says

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Louisiana is almost certain to retain its distinction of having the nation’s highest sales tax rate as Commission of Administration Jay Dardenne said state legislators are likely to renew a temporary one-cent sales tax.

“Now the one-cent sales tax seems like the only thing that might get passed” to avert a more than $1 billion “fiscal cliff” when the additional penny in sales tax expires next year, Dardenne told the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

Lawmakers last year passed the temporary tax increase to avoid a more than $1 billion budget shortfall at the time. They promised to take a hard look at the tax code so when they came to Baton Rouge this year they could institute large-scale reforms to a code most agree is deeply flawed.

Instead, the regular legislative session ended last week in a meltdown on multiple fronts. Not only were tax reform measures—recommended by a task force composed of business, government and tax leaders—killed, but the Legislature even failed to pass its yearly operating budget. It was the first time since 2000—when Dardenne was chair of the state Senate Finance Committee—the Legislature failed to pass a budget.

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