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Individuals and small businesses are backbone of state tax base

by Minden Press-Herald

Of the tax revenue the State of Louisiana generates, 62 percent comes from sales and personal income.

Corporate tax contributes 6 percent to the state’s tax base, but the top 50 corporations paid zero tax last year.

“Approximately 10 years ago, corporate tax contributed two billion in revenue for the state,” Rep. Gene Reynolds, D-Minden said. “Now, the top 50 corporations have so many tax exemptions, they never pay any corporate tax.”

Reynolds said that leaves the burden of generating the vast majority of the tax base to sales tax, small businesses and corporations and personal income tax.

The Legislative Fiscal Office, a nonpartisan group operated by the state, distributed a forecast of the state’s tax revenue in the fall.

However, actual revenue generated was less than anticipated.

Estimated corporate income tax, sales tax and personal income tax are areas where revenue was less than expected.

The Revenue Estimating Committee met last week and determined the deficit to be approximately $315 million.

“We have to cut things to bring that back in line,” Reynolds said. “The vast majority of our expenditures in our state are in K through 12 and higher education and health care. It is imperative we make changes to our policies so these areas are not continuously cut. The next two weeks are going to be pretty difficult. The cuts are going to be pretty bad.”

State tax revenue totaled $9.625 billion and contributes to a $31 billion state budget.

Corporate tax was estimated to be 6 percent of the state generated revenue. Sales tax makes up 36 percent and personal income tax makes up 26 percent of state taxes.

Reynolds said all of those areas did not come in as strong as anticipated.

Corporate and other business taxes brought in $456 million, however $688 million was projected.

Sales tax generated $3.1 billion and personal income generated $2.8 billion.

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