by Anna Manning
Mitch Kokai writes on recent tax reform discussion at the Pelican Institute’s policy summit:
North Carolina continues to attract national attention for the success of its state-level tax reforms. That means new opportunities to promote key elements of the reform agenda.
This observer touted one of the least-publicized pieces of that agenda during a recent trip to Baton Rouge.
It’s no surprise that Louisiana policymakers might look to the Tar Heel State for ideas. “As I travel around the country, people say, ‘I want to be Texas. I want to be Florida. But I want to do it like North Carolina.’” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, shared that observation during his latest conversation with Carolina Journal Radio. “What North Carolina has done is [it has] been a model for other states.”
The N.C. tax model certainly generated questions from Louisiana reformers. Taxes topped the list of items tackled during a March 28 policy summit sponsored by the Pelican Institute. That New Orleans-based think tank focuses on free-market, limited-government solutions to state-level public policy challenges.
Sitting alongside a top tax economist from the American Legislative Exchange Council, your author helped field 90 minutes of questions about taxation during the summit’s opening session. Afterward, one lawmaker took me aside to share details about his plan for reforming Louisiana’s personal income tax.
The Pelican State has a three-tiered tax system now. Taxable income up to $12,500 faces a 2 percent tax rate. The rate jumps to 4 percent for income earned up to $50,000. Beyond that threshold, the rate climbs again to 6 percent.
Republican state Rep. Jerome “Zee” Zeringue of Houma wants to simplify that structure. (His is one proposal circulating in Baton Rouge. Another bill incorporates a group of tax reforms mirroring Pelican Institute priorities.)
Just as North Carolina collapsed a three-tiered personal income tax structure into a single flat tax in 2013, Zeringue wants to eliminate all but one rate — 4 percent — for Louisiana. Though he would get rid of the lowest tax rate, no one would see a tax rate increase.
Read more here.