Houma, La. -- They represent some of the largest companies in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes and on Tuesday, Governor Bobby Jindal talked tax reform in front of the South Central Industrial Association.
"One of the biggest obstacles we face in creating more jobs for our people is our state's tax code," he says. "Our current tax code is complex, it's unstable, it is unfair."
The governor wants to eliminate personal and corporate income taxes and replace the revenue with a higher sales tax.
He says the plan would encourage more development in Louisiana, which too often loses business to nearby states without an income tax.
"Between 1995 and 2010, the IRS says that their data shows a significant migration in our nation's population in certain areas of the country," says Jindal. "During this time period, $2 trillion transferred around the country to new population areas. Right here in Louisiana, during that same time period, we lost over $6 billion dollars in adjusted gross income to other states, half of that went to Texas."
But many businesses would see their taxes go up under Jindal's proposal, said Department of Revenue head Tim Barfield.
Some businesses and services are currently exempt from sales tax but would not be if the state adopts Jindal's plan.
The governor says his tax reform plan is not finalized yet. Attendees of Tuesday's meeting still have questions about how it would impact Louisiana businesses.
"I think everybody's intrigued by the plan, I think it's always good to have new concepts," says Shane Guin, a Thibodaux businessman. "I think the problem right now is we just need to understand what that plan entails, what additional information we can expect because it's certainly going to take the business community analyzing that information to figure out what works best for them."
As the governor continues selling his plan around the state, lawmakers are watching closely. They'll take up the proposal when the Legislative session begins in April.
Senator J.P. Morrell says there are still too many questions about the plan.
"His plan continues to evolve," he says. "It will be interesting to see how it evolves but I have yet to see any diagram or math that shows how it works."
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