Legislators jumping gun on Stelly repeal

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 17, 2003

Five months after voters in Louisiana finally approved the so-called Stelly tax swap &045; a complicated plan designed to reconfigure the state’s tax structure.

The Stelly plan cuts the state sales tax on groceries and home utilities, swapping that revenue for a new state income tax structure.

One proposed bill would cut the state income taxes raised to what they were before 2003. Another bill would give back the state tax deduction.

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Neither bill would touch the ban on state sales taxes on groceries and home utilities. Also, neither bill would touch a small state income tax cut on the lowest bracket, which also are in the constitutional.

But the bills completely undermine a plan that was passed by the voters in a statewide election.

Are lawmakers telling us that, after all, they really do know what is best for all of Louisiana?

Attempting to repeal, through legislation, what voters have already approved is an affront to the democratic process. Voters deserve a chance to see how the plan they passed will work for themselves and for the state.

State Rep. Jane Smith, R-Bossier City, has filed the bill that would cut state income taxes. She says she eventually wants to repeal the entire Stelly plan &045; but that would take another amendment passed by voters.

Maybe we need to leave well enough alone and honor what voters have chosen to do. There is room for change &045; but not when the plan has not had time to work.