Survey: Misconceptions about Louisiana’s income, sales and gas tax rates

    Many Louisianans incorrectly believe the state income tax rate has increased in recent years, according to the second of six reports from the 2019 Louisiana Survey. It’s among several widespread misperceptions the 917 residents polled have about state tax rates.

    The share of people who say the state’s income tax is too high is 15 percentage points higher than in 2016 (40% versus 25%). However, 46% of state residents believe tax rates on Louisiana’s individual and household incomes are higher than they were four years ago—which isn’t true—and 32% say they’re higher than they were one year ago—which also isn’t true. (Some of this is attributed to the fact changes in federal tax law resulted in higher state tax payments for many filers.)

    Meanwhile, 49% of residents think the state’s sales tax is too high, up from 32% in early 2016. Though 60% of people correctly say the state sales tax rate is higher than it was four years ago, 40% incorrectly think it’s also up from one year ago.

    Louisianans are also split nearly evenly between those who believe the combined state and federal gas tax is less than it actually is (31%), those who think it’s more than it is (34%) and those who do not know enough to guess (35%). The average response among those who offered a guess was 79 cents per gallon—more than twice the actual rate of 38.5 cents per gallon.

    Other key findings include:

    • Two-thirds of residents support a five-cent per gallon increase to the state’s gas tax, but only 46% back a 20 cent per gallon increase
    • 65% of survey respondents prefer a mixed approach of increased spending and tax reductions if it looks like tax revenue will exceed the amount needed for the state to pay for its current expenditures

    The findings come from the second of six reports from the Louisiana Survey, a project of the Manship School’s Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs and conducted by the Manship School’s Public Policy Research Lab.

    Read the full report from the Louisiana Survey. The third report will be released on Tuesday, April 9.

    View Comments