OUR VIEW: Goodbye state tax, hello sales taxes?

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The Louisiana news world was shaken this week when Gov. Bobby Jindal announced that he is in favor of reforming the state’s tax program.

In his plan, the governor said that he would like to eliminate corporate income taxes and franchise taxes.

To compensate for that void, Louisiana would double its sales tax to a number close to 15-16 percent in some places, according to estimates.

The announcement came completely at random for Louisiana’s second-term governor, who had never previously hinted publicly that he was in favor of the change.

Once the news got out, Jindal’s office does what political public relations people do – spin and attempt to sway the journalistic masses.

The governor’s office sent out a slew of statistics when the announcement was made that show the benefits of the tax change.

In it, the release says that the state would become among the nation’s leaders in overall tax climate – a move that the governor speculates would make Louisiana a national leader in business.

There is no doubt that there would be a lot of positives with the shift in tax procedure. But like with any drastic change, there are also some negatives that will accompany the move.

Stats are one measure of success. But they can also easily be picked and chosen to say whatever one wants them to say.

Until we learn more details about the governor’s proposed plan, we will urge proceeding with caution.

While the elimination of income tax would be great for business, it would probably be devastating for those on fixed incomes.

Likewise, our state’s poor would be hit awfully hard at the cash register because of the hike in sales taxes.

Moving more money and more jobs into our area is a wonderful thing. But not if it doubles or triples those who are struggling financially.

We are not saying that Jindal’s plan is good or bad – we are just saying that we don’t know enough to make a decision either way.

As more time unfolds, details will emerge and we will learn the specifics.

Until then, it’s too early for anyone to take a stance in either direction.

Just because something looks good on paper doesn’t mean it’s what’s best for the greatest number of people.

Moving two steps forward isn’t beneficial if the move that follows is three steps backward.