Story by Kevin Litten, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune
The Louisiana Senate voted to overhaul legislation on Saturday (March 5) that originally sought to end every sales tax exemption in the state by mid-2017, and would have forced dozens of industries to fight to retain their exemption. Strong opposition, however, led the bill's sponsor to modify the legislation into a directive that – instead of eliminating the exemptions - creates a committee tasked with determining whether the exemptions are worthwhile.
Debates over the legislation (Senate Bill 25) on Friday and Saturday showed just how challenging it is to remove exemptions. The bill by State Sen. Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, ran into significant opposition in the Senate on Friday, where senators voted narrowly (18-16) to end debate on the bill and defer voting on it over concerns that the legislation was too broad.
Some of the 190 exemptions affected by the bill are several decades old, Cortez said, and include tax breaks on purchasing farm equipment; fuel used for commercial fishing boats; liquefied gases used for home heating, cooking and farming.