(The Center Square) — Large percentages of Louisianans want to eliminate the state’s sales tax, limit growth in state spending and expand school choice options, according to a new poll.
The poll from the conservative-leaning nonprofit Pelican Institute of 1,023 likely voters conducted Sept. 11-13 offers insight into the priorities residents are looking for in Baton Rouge, and from politicians they plan to send there in the upcoming election.
Two-thirds of those polled said they want the legislature to prioritize responsible budgeting and limit state spending to create fiscal stability, compared to 9% that opposed. The net support of 57% was overwhelming in all demographics, with Democrats at net 44% support and independents at net 55%.
Louisiana spending has increased from roughly $27 billion in fiscal year 2015 to nearly $51 billion in fiscal year 2023-24, driven in part by influxes in general revenue taxes and temporary federal funds in recent years. Louisiana currently ranks 29th in the nation for spending, with the highest per capita spending in the South, according to the Tax Policy Center.
The poll, conducted by COR Strategies, also found strong support for phasing out the state’s income tax, which ranges from a marginal rate of 1.85% to 4.25% for personal income and between 3.5% and 7.5% for corporate income.
A total of 58% of those poll supported an income tax phase out, while 20% opposed, translating to net support of 38%.
“This is also supported by every demographic, including Democrats (+25%), who sometimes oppose measures like this when tested in other states,” pollsters wrote.
Support for education savings accounts parents can use to send their children to the school of their choice, including private schools, also had support from 62% of those polled, and net support of 37%. That support included most Democrats, with 17% more in favor than opposed.
Another 52% want to avoid overregulation to encourage technology and spur innovation, while 67% said a candidate’s support for the policies polled would impact how they vote.
“If we are to write Louisiana’s comeback story, we first have to get our fiscal house in order and fix our broken tax code that has, for far too long, landed Louisiana at the bottom of every good list and the top of every bad list,” Pelican Institute CEO Daniel Erspamer said in a statement. “Louisiana families are suffering, and too many of our best and brightest are leaving the state to find opportunity elsewhere. It’s time to embrace a bold vision for tax reform proven to bring jobs and opportunity — not to mention our kids and grandkids — back to our state.”
The institute released the poll along with a new tax reform plan that centers on flattening personal income and corporate income taxes to one tax bracket and rate, with a focus on reducing the rates over time to eventually eliminate the personal income tax.
Other provisions would impose a stronger spending limit to sustain tax reforms, which also include eliminating corporate franchise taxes, and inventory tax, along with associated credits.
The plan further calls for centralizing sales tax administration and broadening the sales tax base by repealing exemptions.