Governor John Bel Edwards released his tax reform proposal last week, and its implications could be harmful to both Louisiana producers and consumers.
The plan was released in preparation for the 2017 legislative session starting April 10th. The details of the plan have not been released, but there is speculation of a gross sales tax. If predictions of that gross sales tax on all businesses and industries are correct, the agricultural industry should be concerned.
Joe Mapes, Louisiana Farm Bureau legislative specialist, said the greatest concern to agriculture is that this tax would apply to farm inputs.
“This plan would include removing our exemptions that we now have for certain inputs like feed, seed and fertilizer,” Mapes said.
If this plan were put into action, Louisiana would become the only state to tax agricultural products at the production level. Mapes said this situation is bad for both producers and consumers.
“We would become uncompetitive,” Mapes said. “Ultimately we could end up importing food, which would increase the price of food for all consumers.”
Mapes said the details of the governor's plan are still unclear, but Farm Bureau will be watching closely as the session nears.