NOV. 13 BULLETIN – Amendment 1: Rationalization of sales tax collection

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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (BRPROUD) – In less than a month, voters in Louisiana will vote on four constitutional amendments. Their passage could lead to major changes in the collection of sales tax, income tax, levee districts and the way the legislature fills tax loopholes.

Amendment 1 seeks to streamline sales tax collection:

“Support an amendment allowing the legislature to provide for simplified electronic filing, electronic remittance and collection of sales and use taxes levied in the state by the Commission for Rationalized Sales and Use Taxes of the State and region and provide funding, duties and responsibilities of the commission? “

Louisiana is one of the few states to collect sales taxes locally. Those who support a centralized system believe it would eliminate all bureaucracy and make the state a more attractive place to do business.

“Traditionally, there has been a spider’s web of collectors,” said Stephen Waguespack, president and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. “There are over 55 different collectors in Louisiana. So if you are a small business it can be very heavy, it can be very expensive. All of these collectors have different auditors and rating levels.

LABI supports Constitutional Amendment 1, stating that the current system is too complex. A ‘yes’ vote would create an online filing system to accommodate national, local and remote tax collection.

For those who oppose it, there are fears that it will take over local governments who claim to know their tax system best.

“But that’s going to be the real challenge with this amendment, is how to have a uniform system that protects local governments, their ability to keep the money they are owed from the collection of sales tax, but also facilitate the business task, ”said Davante Lewis, public affairs director for the LA Budget Project.

If the amendment passes, it would create an appointed commission of eight members.

“There are four state appointees and four local collectors appointees and so it’s a balanced approach,” Waguespack said. “If passed, at the next session a bill will be passed to put the rules and regulations around it.”

The LA Budget Project has not taken an official position on the amendment.

“Currently, we have no idea who this commission will be and how it will function as the current legislation has yet to be passed,” Lewis said. “We’re a little concerned about this.”

A key note about this amendment is that it will not change tax rates. Rates and exemptions would still apply by jurisdiction. Only the way they are collected would change.

The election takes place on November 13.

Read LABI’s perspective on the amendments here.

Read LA Budget Project’s guide to changes here.

Read a non-partisan guide from the Public Affairs Research Council here.


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