Louisiana Rep. Julie Stokes (R-Kenner)
Two days before Gov. John Bel Edwards was inaugurated as Governor, Sound Off Louisiana revealed the fact that Jay Dardenne’s Commissioner of Administration appointment would have a $615,000 impact on the state employees’ retirement system’s unfunded accrued liability (UAL). Less than one month later, Dardenne defended the massive increase by stating that it enabled Gov. Edwards to “get the best possible person for the job.” Dardenne also didn’t question the magnitude of the impact.
Not only do these massive increases in the retirement system’s UAL inhibit retirees who worked for the state for a small fraction of Dardenne’s golden-parachute-salary from obtaining pension COLAs, but Dardenne and other similar fat-cat state pensioners have the added advantage of being able to exempt their entire six-figure pensions from Louisiana state income taxes.
At the meeting of the Baton Rouge Press Club of Monday, June 13, 2016, State Rep. Julie Stokes (R-Kenner) was asked to comment on the fairness of such exemptions and why, during this extended period of tax hikes on everyday Louisiana citizens, this massive exclusion seems to never even surface for serious consideration. Let’s watch her response:
Stokes comments on the lucrative state pension exemption.
Most recently, Stokes introduced another iteration of her efforts to remove deductibility of Federal income taxes from one’s state tax return (in exchange, at least temporarily, for reduced tax rates). Stokes’ own analysis of the impact of her proposal, which she was gracious enough to provide at Press Club, demonstrates a seismic shift of tax burdens away from folk making less than $50,000 per year and toward folk in the $100,000 – $180,000 income range. Sound Off Louisiana’s Robert Burns therefore asked Stokes if there had been any factor for “leakage” (i.e. people moving to Texas) as a result of ever-increasing tax burdens on those adversely impacted by her proposal. Her response follows:
Stokes addresses any “leakage” factor (i.e. residents moving to Texas)
that may arise as a result of her proposed Constitutional Amendment
to eliminate the deductibility of Federal income taxes.
Stokes’ proposal fell well short of the 2/3 requirement to advance to the Senate.
Stokes also bluntly stated that the penny sales tax will serve as a “bridge” to other tax-increase measures and nothing more. Let’s hear her response to Burns’ question entailing fiscal conservatives who expected a bridge to meaningful spending reforms such as those advocated by State Treasurer (and U. S. Senate candidate) John Kennedy.
Stokes explains the purpose of the penny sales tax in terms of the
type of “bridge” is serves as.
Stokes responds to a question of “what two or three exemptions do
you feel are most critical to eliminate?”
Stokes describes relationships in the Louisiana Legislature and provides
her advice to Gov. Edwards in terms of a third special session.
CLICK HERE to see Rep. Stokes’ presentation to the Baton Rouge Press Club in its entirety.
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