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New Orleans mayor opposes constitutional amendment that would create sales tax commission

By: - October 15, 2021 3:40 pm
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New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Friday voiced opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment on the upcoming November ballot that would create a single sales tax commission to replace Louisiana’s multiple tax collection authorities.

On Nov. 13, voters will get to choose “Yes” or “No” on proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 1, which would create the State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission. The commission would consist of eight appointed members and provide streamlined electronic filing and collection of all sales and use taxes in Louisiana. 

The commission would become the primary authority on creating rules related to collecting sales and use taxes levied by any taxing authority in the state. 

Proponents say this will streamline collections and make tax remittance easier for businesses, but Cantrell’s spokesperson Beau Tidwell called it a “political solution to a technological problem.”  

One point of uncertainty surrounding the measure is that the commission would also adopt any other rules and powers granted through statute, which lawmakers plan to introduce with legislation only if and after voters approve the amendment. 

“That’s why leadership’s agreement with local governments was that this wouldn’t go to voters until the statutory enabling legislation was in place,” Tidwell said. “What’s before voters is a blank check: a concept with no rules to follow.” 

When the amendment legislation for the commission was proposed last session, some lawmakers expected to have a companion bill in place that spelled out those statutory rules and powers, but that never materialized, he said.

Cantrell’s opposition could have a significant impact on the ballot measure as New Orleans voters could account for as much as 25 percent of the overall turnout, according to a report by LaPolitics Weekly

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Wes Muller
Wes Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Much of his journalism has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and coverage of municipal and state government. He has received recognitions including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus and a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his two sons and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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