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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