There are two significant happenings over the next few weeks we should all be watching carefully – the first is the November 13 election, which for most of us will only include a set of four constitutional amendments. The second is a series of meetings where state officials will travel to North Louisiana to present the first round of information about Louisiana’s complex redistricting task. They’re seemingly unrelated, but the stark information presented on redistricting, and the challenge legislators face in redrawing those fine lines should be motivation for all of us to get out and vote YES on amendments numbers 1 and 2 on your ballot.
The 2020 Census tells us we’ve lost so much population that our two North Louisiana congressional districts will have to find roughly 80,000 new voters in neighboring districts. That indicates a major migration problem that should set off alarms within all of us. Our communities shouldn’t be experiencing this kind of loss, and they wouldn’t be if families could find jobs and economic opportunity without having to chase it elsewhere. It’s time for us to reverse this trend, and the tax reform amendments on the ballot provide the opportunity to set a new course.
Right now, Louisiana ranks 42nd in terms of our business climate – how well we compete when it comes to attracting new business and investment in our state – because our tax code, and the way we collect local sales taxes, is cumbersome, complicated, and archaic. Amendments 1 and 2 are designed to change that, by streamlining and simplifying our system.
Amendment 1 would streamline how we collect and remit local sales taxes to our communities. Right now, our home-grown businesses must do this by hand, navigating 54 different local collectors and more than 100 different local tax rates. The amendment relieves this burden, putting our businesses on equal footing with their out-of-state competitors selling here, who currently enjoy a single, streamlined method. Most other states collect taxes through this method, it’s time we do so as well.
While Amendment 1 streamlines, Amendment 2 simplifies – lowering individual income tax rates in exchange for removing a dinosaur of an incentive from the constitution and triggering a series of bills that together make a simpler system with lower rates – a system making Louisiana more attractive to new business and the jobs they bring. I mentioned that Louisiana’s business tax climate ranks 42nd, but in its analysis of the tax reform amendments, the Tax Foundation concludes that if passed, amendments 1 and 2 would finally pull Louisiana out of the bottom ten.
As a proud member of the Committee of 100 for Economic Development, Inc. – Louisiana’s business roundtable of corporate executives and university presidents – we have used our collective voice to advocate for public policies that improve Louisiana’s overall competitiveness. We’ve studied this, we’ve been lending our expertise, and we can finally see reform within our reach.
I invite you to learn more about these critical tax reform amendments, visit www.cabl.org, www.parlouisiana.org or www.UntangleMyTaxes.org for more information. Election Day is November 13, and Early Voting runs from October 30 through November 6. It’s time to reverse course, and you’ve got the power to do so, if you vote YES on amendments 1 and 2.
Carlton Golden, Bossier City
C100 Executive Committee
President – Builders Supply Co., Inc.