Louisiana Survey: State sales tax is too high

Most Louisianans don’t want the government to cut spending or to raise taxes, and there is bipartisan agreement that state sales tax is too high, according to the third of five reports from the 2021 Louisiana Survey.  

The latest installment from the Public Policy Research Lab at LSU’s Reilly Center for Media  and Public Affairs contains results from questions asking Louisianans’ for their opinions on state fiscal policy. Here are the highlights: 

• A bipartisan majority of Louisiana residents thinks that the state sales tax is too high, including 53% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans. Opinion splits more evenly over the state income tax: 41% say it is too high and 37% say it is about right.  

• Fifty-two percent of Louisiana residents say they pay about the right amount in state taxes, and 41% say they are paying more than their fair share. 

• Pluralities say that low-income people (41%), middle-income people (48%), and small businesses (50%) pay more than their fair share of state taxes. A plurality (50%) says that upper-income people pay less than their fair share, and a majority (56%) says the same about large businesses.  

• The public has little stomach for budget cuts or tax increases in six specific policy areas: elementary and secondary education; higher education; health care; roads, bridges and highways; prisons and incarceration; and welfare, food stamps and other public assistance programs. While a majority of respondents do not want to reduce spending in any of these areas, only elementary and secondary education gains a majority in favor of higher taxes.  

• Support for more government spending on higher education and support for raising state taxes to fund higher education both fell significantly since 2018, by 12 and 13 percentage points, respectively.  

• Fifty-seven percent favor raising the state gasoline tax if it is used to fund transportation infrastructure. Support is strong among Democrats (60%) and independents (62%), but lags among Republicans (46%).  

• Louisiana residents overwhelmingly favor maintenance of existing transportation infrastructure (67%) over expanding its capacity (29%).

The Louisiana Survey polled 781 adult residents statewide to find out how Louisianans view their government and its policies. The survey was conducted from January 4 to March 1. See the full report.