An effective tax system unleashes growth and lowers barrier for individuals and companies from a code that is fair, flat, and simple. Furthermore, taxes shouldn’t take more than necessary to fund the core functions of government. Below is a snapshot of current law and how it could improve:
Reduce Personal Income Tax Rate, Broaden Base
Eliminating the federal tax deduction for state taxpayers would benefit Louisianans—Louisiana is only one of two states that allows a full deduction. Doing so would free up revenue and could allow lawmakers to reduce the state personal income tax and eliminate the lowest tax bracket, providing $1.145 billion tax relief.
Use Tax Code to Attract Businesses into Louisiana
To become attractive to new businesses and solidify in-state businesses, Louisiana must compete not only regionally, but globally. And it can. Flattening or eliminating the corporate income tax, which at eight percent, is the highest in the region but only makes up three percent of general fund revenue, would go a long way to helping Louisiana become more competitive. Repealing of the Franchise Tax could also draw in business. Our Franchise tax is the second highest in the national—only 16 states even have a Franchise Tax—but only contributes 1.2 percent of general fund revenue.
How Tax Reform Can Help Louisiana
Repealing the Corporate Income Tax and flattening the Personal Income Tax could spur an increase of $1 billion or more annually (in GDP output). And by leveling the playing field for all businesses and individuals and not favoring those special interests, more businesses and individuals will flock to the state in search of prosperity and opportunity.
Criminal Justice Reform
An effective criminal justice system, above all, protects people and preserves public safety. It should also respect human dignity, restore victims, remove barriers to opportunity for reentering individuals, and ensure equal justice for all under the law. Below is a snapshot of the current law and how it can improve:
Civil Asset Forfeiture
Current law allows law enforcement to seize and keep private property without charging or even a conviction. Civil asset forfeiture undermines due process, turning presumption of innocence upside down. Abolishing civil asset forfeiture in Louisiana and replacing it with criminal forfeiture where police can seize property associated with a crime but must convict the individual to keep it would make for a safer and more just Louisiana.
Mens Rea Reform
“Mens rea” is Latin for “guilty mind” and refers to the legal concept that in judging guilt, a person’s criminal intent should matter alongside the act committed. There are hundreds of activities we don’t associate with the criminal justice system that carry criminal penalties in Louisiana, some incredibly mundane, such as riding a bike with no hands on the handlebars. Louisiana’s criminal code shouldn’t contain duplicative, obsolete, unclear, or unnecessary crimes that trap people in a cycle of incarceration while failing to make our communities any better off.
Pretrial is the time period from when a person first comes in contact with law enforcement (i.e. a traffic stop) to when any resulting charges are resolved through dismissal, plea, or trial. Oftentimes, defendants are held in jail simply because they can’t afford to pay. This drives up the likelihood of them losing their jobs, finding themselves in deeper crisis, and committing future crimes – all before having the chance to prove their innocence. Unless there is evidence that a defendant is a risk to skip their trial or a danger to others, they should not be detained pre-trial.