While states neighboring Louisiana and other competing states are enacting pro-growth tax reform to make their states more attractive destinations for the expected uptick in global capital flows into the U.S., Gov. Edwards is busying implementing fiscal policies that make Louisiana less attractive to investors and site selectors. Despite all of this bad news, one can forgive folks in Louisiana for not being aware of what an outlier the Pelican State has become, seeing as those who report on state government in Baton Rouge have a habit of obscuring basic facts, such as whether lawmakers are raising or cutting tax rates.
“Mr. Speaker, over the course of the past 500 days, this Congress has worked with President Trump to pass historic tax cuts and regulatory reform. As a result, this is the strongest economy we have seen in two decades. Many of my colleagues across the aisle, whom I respect, continue to posture otherwise, ignoring the facts. They have dismissed our efforts as 'crumbs,' saying that tax cuts are 'Armageddon.' But outside of this Chamber, outside of the small bubble that is D.C., the real America exists and real Americans who get it. People concerned with earning an honest living and providing for their families, because of tax reform, those families are seeing new jobs created. They are seeing real wage growth. They are seeing new investments in their communities.
Mr. Speaker, I travel throughout the district that I represent. I speak directly to the citizens that I serve. In Lafayette, Abbeville, New Iberia, Lake Charles, everywhere we go, there are real people telling real stories about how tax cuts are improving their lives. Americans that I represent, they have shared their stories about how they are using their tax cut to pay bills, to save for retirement, or to buy new school clothes for the kids. Small business owners across South Louisiana have shared how they are expanding operations and investing in their employees. That is the real impact on families in Louisiana and across America.
This body spent months debating the merits of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. I and many of my colleagues projected more jobs, more investment, and a stronger economy. We were right. Those projections have become reality: nearly three million new jobs since President Trump was elected; one million new jobs since we passed historic tax cuts; unemployment at its lowest point in half a century; consumer confidence at a 17-year high; small business optimism at an all-time high; and real GDP growth projected at over four percent for 2018. Let me share that I have read the Book of Revelation. This is no 'Armageddon.' This is a historically strong economy fueled by tax cuts and regulatory reform. Mr. Speaker, America is back. We are open for business, and Americans will continue to benefit from the pro-growth conservative policies of President Trump and this Republican Congress.”
After doing all he can to kill the oil and gas industry here in the State of Louisiana, our own "Honor Code" and the Louisiana version of Barack Obama, John Bel Edwards, has come out with a statement touting the creation of a whopping 150 new jobs in the Monroe area with CenturyLink.
I would be more likely to believe that this deal was done in response to the recent changes in the tax system implemented by the Republicans in Congress and pushed by President Trump rather that the "business climate" within this state. "Honor Code" has done nothing in his two years as governor, other than raise taxes on both the citizens of the state and the companies that do business here.
If there is anything more apparent that this clown tripped into his office, then I don't know any. The sanctimonious Vitter critics should be proud of the circus being run in Louisiana. But don't blame it on us that supported the Republican candidate in the last governor's election. We all voted for Vitter.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2017
Contact: Kevin Roig, 202-225-3901
WASHINGTON, DC – Louisiana Congressmen Garret Graves (R-Capital Region) and Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-Alto) sent a letter today urging Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and Congressman Kevin Brady, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means to retain disaster tax relief language in the final product of negotiations currently underway in Washington to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of major tax reform legislation. The disaster tax relief, which was included by Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy in the Senate’s version of the bill, accomplishes the goals of separate legislation Graves introduced earlier this year - H.R. 2849, the Louisiana Flood and Storm Devastation Act of 2017, which would grant homeowners and individuals emergency tax relief, the ability to withdraw from retirement accounts without incurring penalties, casualty loss provisions, work opportunity tax credits for employers, and relief for certain charitable giving. The bipartisan bill was cosponsored by Congressmen Richmond (D-LA), Abraham and Higgins.
“We aren’t asking for special treatment,” reiterated Graves. “We’re asking for our flood victims to be given the same, common sense relief that disaster victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico were granted after disaster struck those communities. Too often after disasters, government ends up getting in the way of recovery – this is a chance to actually help recovery and remove nonsensical penalties currently imposed on victims for wanting to take care of themselves.”
Dr. Abraham added, “Louisiana flood victims deserve equal access to disaster tax benefits that have been afforded to other states. Our people are still recovering from two historic floods we suffered last year, and this tax relief will go a long way toward facilitating that recovery.”
Louisiana Citizens for Job Creators put out the following regarding rampant waste within the Louisiana DHS and "Honor Code" wanting more of the Louisiana taxoayer's money.
- Louisiana saw over $40 million in Medicaid fraud in 2016.
- Check it out here.
- $2.5 Million of OUR Louisiana tax dollars were sent to folks living in other states.
- All of this while the Louisiana Department of Hospitals budget skyrocketed up 60%!
And now the Louisiana Department of Hospitals wants another $2 Billion of our tax dollars?!?
What did the Louisiana legislature say about all of this? Governor Edwards bypassed them and awarded a $15 BILLION contract without their approval.
See the breaking video for all the facts.
BY SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA.)
It doesn’t take an expert to see that something is stalling the American economy.
2016 was the 11th straight year that America failed to achieve 3 percent annual growth, which was our average nearly every year since 1960. I’ve heard numerous pundits act like returning to 3 percent growth is something special. No, it’s just “average.” The American people deserve better than just average growth.
But even average growth is optimistic if we keep hamstringing our job creators. Our 40 percent corporate tax rate and broken tax code are chasing our ideas, our jobs, and our investors into the open, waiting arms of foreign countries. We are keeping wages and productivity low. We are crippling our small businesses.
Changes have to be made to unshackle our small businesses, but in the process, we can’t forget about the primary vehicle for economic growth: the middle-class.
I’ve said it before: What we have right now in America is too many undeserving people at the top getting bailouts and too many undeserving people at the bottom getting handouts. And you know who’s been stuck with the bill? Middle-class families. And they can’t afford it any more. Their kids’ tuition has gone up, their health insurance has gone up, but you know what hasn’t gone up? Their take home pay.
That’s why I’m speaking up for the middle class. Someone has to speak up for ordinary people when it comes to tax reform.
Middle-class families drive our economic engine. They buy the goods and services that our businesses are selling. They work hard to be able to spend and save and invest. They are our entrepreneurs and our innovators. And now, as they are trying to balance their checkbooks, nearly one-third of their income is automatically withheld and sent off to Washington.
Right now, if you’re a middle-class family in Alexandria, La., with a combined household income of $59,000 and two kids, and you claim all your exemptions and take the standard deduction, you’re still going to be sending the federal government $3,500. Now, that’s not even counting contributions to state and local taxes, or payments to Social Security and Medicare. By the time the bills are paid and there’s gas in the car, very little is left for the kids’ college funds.
I have a plan for how tax reform can target the middle class and bring those families some badly needed relief.
Nearly three-quarters of Americans opt to take the standard deduction when filing their taxes. It’s simple, it’s fair, and it requires less documentation than itemizing. All Congress needs to do is to double the standard deduction across the board in order to inject more than $600 billion back into the economy over 10 years, according to a 2014 CRS report. That’s an immediate shot in the arm for the American economy. That family of four in Alexandria will have their tax bill reduced to $1,700, freeing up almost $2,000 of hard-earned income.
That’s $2,000 new dollars back into my state’s economy. As the cost of earning more is reduced, people will want to work harder. That means more productivity and even more growth. It’s Economics 101: You give people more to spend and they’ll spend it, and grow the economy in the process.
We need to liberate the middle class and their power to spend and save. In short, we need to renew the belief in the American dream.
A tax reform policy that provides relief to the middle class, such as doubling the standard deduction, will reawaken the incentive to work, save, and invest. Our economic fate is tied to the health of our middle class and our small businesses. It’s high time that we offer middle-class Americans a tax code that believes in them.
Kennedy is the junior senator from Louisiana.
Source: The Hill
In a pathetic attempt at journalism, the editorial staff at the Daily Advertiser is the latest news organization to partake in shamelessly biased writing.
The paper recently published an article blaming Speaker Barras for the problems the state is facing. This is an outrageous accusation and calls into question the credibility of this "news organization."
At a time when Louisiana has raised the most taxes out of any state in the previous year, Barras should be applauded for taking a stand fighting back against tax increases and passing a fiscally responsible standstill budget.
The Daily Advertiser should get their facts straight and Speaker Barras should be thanked for his conservative service to the people of Louisiana.
This is precisely why people don't trust the media.
June 19, 2016
No matter anything else, many Louisianans believed John Bel Edwards would shoot much straighter with us than did ex-Governor Bobby Jindal. It gives me no pleasure to say that he is busily proving us wrong.
Our governor's already infamous tax-and-spend war against Louisiana's bedraggled taxpayers is anything but straight-up, regardless that his campaign portrayed him as honor-bound by his military code to so act.
Many a fact and truth clearly debunk the governor's most basic assertions about Louisiana's financial condition. Although it is tempting to accuse him of taking advantage of a "crisis," such assumes there even is a crisis.
Our here in the real world where Louisiana's tax payers live, labor and, well, pay taxes, basic facts - truth - instead expose tax-and-spend dogma, not a crisis.
A key such fact is this: with "only" the $2 billion in new taxes Governor Edwards has already authored and the state legislature raised, core state spending, after adjustment for inflation, is already set to be +23.8% higher than only 11 years ago.
Louisiana's budget and spending for fiscal year 2004-2005 is the perfect baseline for such analysis. As that spending ended, Hurricane Katrina hit, followed during the period since by Hurricanes Rita, Gustav and Isaac, the Great Recession's "Obama Stimulus" windfall, and the BP disaster.
... Louisiana's core, general fund budget for fiscal 2004-2005 was $6.8 billion (here). Adjusted for inflation, that is equivalent to $8.4 billion today (calculator here).
... Our comparable general fund budget for the current, now ending, 2015-2016 fiscal year is just over $9.0 billion (here).
(The exact amounts are $8,360,420,415 in 2004-2005, inflation-adjusted, and $9,042,826,000 in fiscal year 2015-2016.)
... That is a real increase of $682,405,585, or +8.2% in core state spending since 2004-2005, before any new taxes.
... A bedrock fact in all of this should be population growth rather than partisan political whim. Between July 1, 2005 and July 1, 2015, our population grew a very weak +3.3% ... from 4,523,628 to 4,670,724 (data here and here). Now, it may well be dropping.
... An on-going drop in Louisiana government employees should greatly impact any need for more spending. A go-to Associated Press article from 2014 (here) - still applicable I am told - explains this simply:
"Today, thatworkforce (of 93,500) hovers at 62,000 employees - fewer than it's been in more than two decades. Spending on payroll has decreased by about $1 billion annually."
With $2 Billion in New Taxes Already Raised, Edwards Threatens Doomsday
Using ages-old tax-and-spending doomsday hokum,our governor bangs the table saying he MUST have another $800 million in new taxes in the five final days of the special legislative session.
Bullfeathers. As explained, the $2.0 billion in new taxes already raised is +23.8% higher than in fiscal 2004-2005. Since then, Louisiana hauled in some $160 billion in extraordinary, never-budgeted revenue - over $140 billion from Hurricane Katrina alone. When that gusher of money ended, many programs - and much spending - remained in place.
That is our problem ... it is a spending problem, not a revenue problem. That gusher significantly grew state government, and Governor Edwards & Friends are hellbent on locking it in with fiscal madness.
An honorable state budget would match spending to available, existing revenue.
Nothing in Louisiana is more endangered than a tax payer. State government has called the dance as 558,000 of us - net - moved away since 1985. Those remaining pay Louisiana's bigger and bigger tax-and-spend band.
Governor Edwards does not care. If he did, he would honor tax payers.
(Elliott Stonecipher does this work pro bono ... no compensation of any kind is solicited or accepted. He has no client or other relationships which in any way influence his selections of subjects or the content of any article. Appropriate credit to Mr. Stonecipher in the sharing - unedited only, of course - is expected. The use of his work without such credit to him is unethical and will not be quietly accepted.)
(Washington, DC) – Dr. Charles Boustany (R-Lafayette) supported passage H.R. 5053, the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act introduced by Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL). The bill prohibits the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from requiring a tax-exempt organization to include the name, address, or other identifying information of any contributor in annual returns.
Boustany spoke in support of H.R. 5053 on the House floor today.
Speaking on the House floor in support of the bill, Boustany said: “Back in 2012 when I was Oversight Subcommittee Chairman on Ways & Means, I started the investigation into the IRS’s unconstitutional targeting of conservative groups for their political beliefs… Taxpayers deserve to know whether the IRS is violating their privacy. This bill furthers that effort by preventing the IRS from targeting non-profits, prohibiting the agency from collecting the identity of donors who contribute to these organizations.
“The IRS still operates under the shadow of a scandal in which it admitted to targeting organizations based on their political beliefs… To successfully carry out its mission, the IRS must be viewed as an unbiased arbiter of the law. It cannot do that without coming clean. H.R. 5053 is a necessary step to require more accountability and transparency at the IRS, and I urge my colleagues to support this critical bill.”
Boustany launched the original investigation into the IRS as Chairman of the House Ways & Means Oversight Subcommittee after conservative groups approached him with complaints of unlawful targeting by the agency. Boustany authored three bills to bring greater transparency and accountability to the IRS that passed the House in 2014. The bills are:
Ø H.R. 5418: Prohibiting officers and employees of the IRS from using personal email accounts to conduct official business.
Ø H.R. 5419: Providing a right to an administrative appeal relating to adverse determinations of tax-exempt status by the IRS of certain organizations.
Ø H.R. 5420: Permitting the release of information regarding the status of an investigation to aggrieved individuals or organizations.
From LFF 60-Second Brigade Alert System
Last week, the The House Ways and Means Committee voted 11-10 to stop a key aspect of the Edwards' tax plan.
On Wednesday, the committee will again vote on an identical measure, HB38 by Rep. Malinda White (D) of Bogalusa.
The fiscal note on the bill indicates it would cost taxpayers $643 million over 5 years.
The Agenda indicates the measure is "Subject to Rules Suspension." This should indicate that a 2/3 majority of House members present must vote for suspending the rules in order to consider this new tax proposal.
It's no secret that the Governor has been individually lobbying members of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, trying to persuade them to flip favorable on their vote.
If you think $643 million in new taxes on the shoulders of middle Louisiana is too much, then now is the time to speak up. HB38 is a short bill, so read it carefully.
- Federal Taxes Paid,
- Medical Expenses,
- Charitable Donations, and
- Mortage Interest.
Contact House members of the Ways and Means Committee here and express your concern!.