Like a number of other states, Louisiana has what are known as “tax holidays” when certain items are not charged a sales tax in order to make them a little more affordable. With sales taxes that can reach up to 9% in some areas of the state when you combine state and local rates, people can save money on items like school supplies or emergency items needed during a hurricane. As poor as Louisiana is, every penny counts and many people take advantage of these sales tax holidays ahead of the new school year or hurricane season.
Louisiana has been struggling to close a $1.6 billion budget gap, and Governor Bobby Jindal has vowed to oppose any new taxes as part of his pledge to Grover Norquist. Jindal also still believes he has a chance at securing the Republican nomination for president in 2016, and he’s done everything he possibly can to kiss up to the right-wing fringe, as well as groups like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity in the hopes of some large Super PAC donations. In order to adhere to his no new taxes pledge, Jindal’s cronies in the Louisiana State Legislature have done everything possible to close the budget gap without upsetting his potential future donors.
The Louisiana Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs voted 7-2* to the Second Amendment sales tax holiday during the first weekend in September. The measure eliminates the sales tax on all hunting equipment — including firearms, ammunition, clothing, knives, ATVs and tree stands — during a three-day period.
At the same time, the committee signed off on doing away with similar sales tax holidays aimed at back-to-school purchases in early August and hurricane preparedness supplies next May. (Source)
Seriously, guns are more important than school supplies or things you might need in case of a hurricane? According to the Louisiana Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs, they don’t mind if families who are already strapped for money have to pay more for school uniforms or an emergency generator, but heaven forbid we do away with a sales tax holiday on non-essential items like guns and ammo. Yes, I said it, guns and ammo are non-essential items, and this sales tax exemption is little more than pandering to gun owners and gun fanatics (yes, there’s a difference) – the proof is the fact that it’s called the Second Amendment sales tax holiday.
The budget problem has been an ongoing issue in Louisiana and while one in four of the largest corporations in the state don’t pay taxes, much of the tax burden is pushed off to individuals. This disparity is even more obvious when you consider the fact that the state collects 50% more in revenue from casinos than they do from corporate taxes. It would make sense to start getting businesses to pay more in taxes, but this is Louisiana and Norquist puppet Bobby Jindal we’re talking about.
Jindal chalks up the current budget shortfall to the drop in oil prices, and that’s definitely contributed. A larger piece of the puzzle has been his determination to maintain a pure record on taxes.
Jindal hasn’t always been reckless about taxation. In the midst of a budget surplus early in his first term, Jindal tried to quietly head off the Legislature’s move to roll back a big income tax increase that had been enacted several years earlier. It was only after lawmakers seemed like they might eliminate the income tax entirely that he got on board with the rollback, and he soon was boasting that he’d signed the biggest tax cut in state history.
The first real glimpse of the future came in 2011 when Jindal fought tooth and nail against extending a temporary four-cent levy on the state’s cigarette tax—at 36 cents, including the levy, the third lowest in the nation. His reasoning? If the tax rate is scheduled to automatically drop and the state acts to prevent that from happening, it amounts to an effective tax increase.
Bobby Jindal has had aspirations of being president for years. In fact, if you look at his career, he has a clear pattern of jumping from one job to another to get to the next level as fast as he possibly can. In all fairness, this isn’t Jindal’s fault alone. Louisiana has had a history of corruption and mismanagement, but when you couple that with a politician who is willing to sacrifice the state he governs in order to curry favor with primary voters and potential donors, it’s a recipe for economic and financial disaster. No wonder Louisiana is so utterly screwed up.
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