U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone—the two Republican’s vying to become governor—are wrong: Taxes in Louisiana are not too high.
You read that right: As Business Report Executive Editor J.R. Ball writes in his new column, these two smart, ultra-successful men are, at best, stretching the truth by dumbing down their campaign rhetoric on taxes.
Why do they do it? Probably because most of you also believe—wrongly—that taxes are too high. But the truth is, he writes, whether you’re talking about people or corporations—which are people, too, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court—Louisiana is home to one of the lowest effective tax burdens in America.
In fact, when it comes to the combined state and local tax burden, both per capita and as a percentage of income, Louisiana checks in at No. 45 on a Tax Foundation list where, if paying taxes is not your thing, it’s good to be darn near the bottom. In short, Louisiana’s tax rates are, indeed, high, but the amount of taxes actually paid is low.
However, these low tax burdens exist because of complex workarounds that complicate the state’s tax code and keep Louisiana from succeeding.
To get a sense of how many gimmicks have been concocted to right the wrong of high tax rates, consider this: Louisiana, according to a study from the Progressive Policy Institute, has between 450 and 500 of what it calls “tax expenditures”—a fancy way of saying “tax breaks.” Only the state of Washington has more.
Read Ball’s full column where he writes about how the gubernatorial candidates are using half-truths about Louisiana’s tax rates to garner votes, and why something should have been done about it yesterday. Send comments to email@example.com