State taxes go up April 1 - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

State taxes go up April 1

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) -

On April 1, several taxes that affect Louisiana consumers go up - and that’s not a joke.

Small businesses fear the impact on their sales.

At Vieux Carre’ Wine and Spirits in the French Quarter, the inventory is vast, and given what kicks in Friday, so is the level of concern.

"You know, it's a negative effect. Everybody wants the best price,” said Maria Nicholson, whose family owns the business.

Starting Friday, the state sales tax increases by a penny and remains in place until June 30, 2018, in most cases. The excise tax on cigarettes increases to $1.08 a pack; the tax on booze increases to:

Liquor - $0.80 per liter

Sparkling wine - $0.55 per liter

Still wines with 14-24 percent alcoholic volume - $0.35 per liter

Still wines with over 24 percent alcoholic volume - $0.55 per liter

Malt beverages - $12.50 per barrel

Low alcoholic content beverages/beer - $12.50 per barrel

"I think it's needed. I think a little bit here and there is going to help out in the long run,” said one local taxpayer.

But others frown on more taxes.

"You got other ways, in other words I'm saying, they can do this without going on me,” said Arthur Bell.

A Vieux Carre’ Wine & Spirits, Nicholson fears that their 30-year-old business could fall off because of the tax hikes.

"I think so, anytime anybody buys anything and they notice the price going up,” she said.

Her father, Blaise Tadaro, agreed.

“You got to pass everything to the customer,” he said of the tax increases.

Customers who patronize their business already pay a higher sales tax than consumers in other parts of New Orleans, and many are forced to pay for parking, too.

“We appreciate that business, and yet it makes it harder, and harder for them. It's embarrassing especially when a tourist or somebody parks outside and tries to come in and buy something, $15, $20  - and they have a $30 ticket,” Nicholson said.

"When you talk about increasing sales taxes on small items I think people are willing to pay it, but when you're talking about you know, one percent on a new car, or television that's a different story,” said Todd Murphy, president of the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.

But even with the new taxes that are kicking in this week, the state still has money headaches. There is an almost $800 million for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

"Some time in the very near future the legislature has got to tackle some true budget reform,” said Murphy.

In the meantime, small businesses say they are shouldering more burden.

"Harder and harder for a small business to compete, you wonder if it's worth it to close the door,” said Nicholson.

“I certainly understand that in the interim every dollars counts to small businesses when you're trying to make sales and pay the rent, and pay for your labor,” said Murphy.

Because of the deficit for the new fiscal year, another special session is expected in the summer.

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