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Story Archives: Riser says tax bill 'dead on arrival'
|Riser says tax bill 'dead on arrival'|
State Sen. Neil Riser will be voting against a proposed income tax freeze when the bill reaches the state Senate next week.
Senate Bill 335 by Sen. Lydia Jackson, D-Shreveport, would maintain excess itemized deductions at the 2008 level of 65 percent for the next four years. It was scheduled to increase to 100 percent in 2009 for state income tax returns filed in 2010.
Itemized deductions include money spent on mortgage interest, medical expenses and charitable contributions. The Legislature agreed last year to raise the deduction limit to 100 percent as part of an effort to undo the Stelly Tax.
Riser said he would not have supported it in committee and he looks forward to voting against it next week.
"We made a promise to the people and I think that needs to mean something," said Riser, R-Columbia. "We knew when we passed the repeal of the Stelly Tax we would be looking at a revenue reduction by 2012, so this was to be expected."
On Friday, Gov. Bobby Jindal said he will veto the legislation.
Riser commended the governor for sticking to his guns and upholding a campaign promise.
"I stand with the governor on this," Riser said. "I couldn't be in the committee meeting, but if I had been, I'd have opposed this."
Riser is a member of the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee. He was unable to attend the committee meeting Thursday, which was not held at the committee's regular meeting time.
Jackson's bill was approved without dissent Thursday by the Senate Revenue & Fiscal Affairs Committee. It moves to the full Senate for consideration. It must be approved by the House of Representatives, too, for Jindal to have an opportunity to veto it.
Jackson said her measure would generate $118 million. According to Jackson, that would restore more than half of a proposed $219-million budget cut higher education for the 2009-10 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
However, Jindal said lawmakers will need to find that money elsewhere if they want to spare cuts to higher education.
"We have said all along that we would veto any legislation that delays tax relief for Louisianians," Jindal said in a prepared statement released to The Concordia Sentinel late Thursday.
"We share the Legislature's concerns that reductions too often fall to higher education and health care during lean budget years, and we will continue to work with them to find ways to protect these critical areas," Jindal said.
Riser said Jackson's bill was "dead on arrival" in the Senate since Jindal says he would veto it.
For Riser, that's good news.
"It does not have a chance" without the governor's support, Riser said.
State Sen. Bob Kostelka also sits on the committee.
Kostelka agreed that any opposition from the Jindal administration would kill the bill before it got to the Senate floor.
"If the governor is against it, then it doesn't stand a chance," said Kostelka, R-Monroe.
Another area lawmaker had a slightly different opinion of Jackson's bill.
State Sen. Francis Thompson said that, while he would not vote for legislation the governor has vowed to veto, Thompson still wanted to find creative solutions to continue "fully funding higher education."
"I'm not going to vote for a bill that the governor is going to veto," said Thompson, D-Delhi. "I'm going to try to support a solution he won't veto."
Thompson declined to take a firm position concerning Jackson's bill, because laws change on their way through the legislative process.
"I don't know what the bill will do," Thompson said. "A lot of times, a bill comes in as a horse and goes out a zebra."
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