The Latest: House rejects sales tax bill to patch budget
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on Louisiana’s special legislative session (all times local):
Efforts to renew part of an expiring sales tax to help patch a nearly $1 billion budget hole have failed in the Louisiana House, as lawmakers seem unable to reach a compromise on taxes in the special session.
Only 38 House lawmakers on Wednesday night voted for the proposal by Republican Rep. Stephen Dwight. It needed 70 votes to pass.
The proposal would temporarily renew one-quarter of an expiring 1 percent sales tax and temporarily eliminate some sales tax breaks, to raise nearly $300 million a year.
Dwight’s bill was supported by GOP House leaders, but it lacked enough Republican or Democratic votes to pass. Democrats, particularly the Black Caucus, favor income tax changes.
The special session must end March 7. It’s unclear if a deal to replace temporary taxes can be reached.
Gov. John Bel Edwards says with only days remaining in Louisiana’s special session, some lawmakers don’t seem to be negotiating on a tax deal to close a budget gap.
The Democratic governor said the next 24-hour period is “critical as to whether we can succeed.” He told the Rotary Club in Baton Rouge he isn’t giving up on reaching a deal before the session must end March 7.
A nearly $1 billion budget gap is caused by expiring temporary taxes. Edwards wants lawmakers to pass replacement taxes.
The House scheduled votes on tax proposals Wednesday afternoon.
But divides remain about what tax types factions in the chamber are willing to support. Republicans who are willing to consider taxes favor sales taxes, while Democrats, particularly the Black Caucus, favor income taxes.