To Tax or Not to Tax? Answering the Questions

Sep 29, 2015

Louisiana Governor candidates: (L to R) John Bel Edwards, David Vitter, Jay Dardenne, Scott Angelle
Credit Sue Lincoln

How are the candidates for governor planning to fix the state’s deficit—and what will that mean for the taxes you pay? Thus far, Scott Angelle, Jay Dardenne, John Bel Edwards and David Vitter have offered more generalities than specifics.


“The Legislature will ultimately make the decision, as so they should, on the tax credits, exemptions and rebates,” Scott Angelle has said, regarding ways to make more revenue available for governmental needs. “But we need economists in the room helping us inform the decision on return on investment.”

Jay Dardenne proposes, “Reduce the personal income tax rates, the corporate income tax rates.  And when we do that, every exemption, every credit, every rebate is on the table to be looked at, because we’re reducing the rates.”

“We’ve got to fix this structural deficit by making sure that we end tax giveaways that cost too much and don’t produce enough return on investment,” John Bel Edwards states. “We’re going to grow the economy in a way that produces net new revenue to meet our obligations.”

And then there’s David Vitter, who says, “The entire plan is at davidvitter.com.”

Vitter has verbalized some specifics on how he would cut state spending, looking first at

“unnecessary state cars in many agencies; consulting contracts; giving food stamp benefits to folks who have already died.”

He has also made clear which tax credits he would eliminate first.

“The wind and solar tax credit is still probably $20 million; purchase of recycling equipment, $4 million; converting your vehicle into a hybrid, $4 million,” Vitter suggests.

While the solar tax credit is due to expire in 2017 anyway, eliminating those credits would please the oil and gas industry, which has heavily donated to Vitter’s campaign. Dardenne’s first choice for a tax credit cutback won’t make that industry happy, though.

“The horizontal drilling tax credit is one that we ought to look at reducing,” Dardenne declares.

“I think movie tax credits needs to be capped,” Angelle believes.

While Edwards says,“We have to look at all of ‘em.”