Louisiana doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and neither does opportunity. When it comes to the harsh reality of attracting entrepreneurs, creating new jobs and keeping our kids and grandkids home, Louisiana must reckon with the reality that we’re competing against other states in a national — and global — race for a brighter future.
That’s why Louisiana’s economic environment matters, and why eliminating the state’s income tax is so critical — no matter how difficult it might be — before more employers and families flee our state. Naysayers try to shoot down reforms with scare tactics, as if it’s a zero-sum game in which tax cuts and a strong state can’t coexist. That’s why taking a holistic view of the state’s tax and budget policies is necessary.
Eliminating the state’s income tax doesn’t have to mean massive cuts or a big tax swap. The Pelican Institute has proposed a plan to flatten personal income taxes, phase them out using extra taxpayer dollars collected above a stronger spending limit and budget responsibly to meet the needs of the state.
When we’re talking about taxes, don’t forget whose money it is. Those are hard-earned dollars that belong to Louisianans, and taxes leave them with less money in their pocket for putting food on the table, gas in their tanks and capital for starting a business. Is it any wonder that so many Louisianans leave for states where they can keep more of their money?
When families gather around their kitchen table or businesses look at their balance sheets, take-home pay makes a difference. That’s why Louisiana should phase out income taxes as soon as possible. This is fundamental to ensuring that Louisiana can compete with our neighbors, attract and retain talent and become an economic powerhouse. This is the comeback story we can write together.
Originally published at The Advocate.
Vance Ginn, Ph.D.