FILE - John Bel Edwards 10.21

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards

(The Center Square) – Gov. John Bel Edwards weighed in on Louisiana’s recent statewide fall election Wednesday after only one of four proposed constitutional amendments netted voter approval.

Edwards, a Democrat, openly supported Amendments 1 and 2 along with Republican legislative leaders and many business groups. A simple majority vote would have enshrined them into the state constitution.

Amendment 1 failed, 52%-48%, as voters rejected the measure offering to streamline Louisiana’s decentralized sales tax collection system.

“It did not pass; I think that’s regrettable,” Edwards said during his monthly radio show. “But the most important [amendment] of the day did, and that’s Amendment 2.”

Amendment 2 lowered the top individual tax rate from 6% to 4.75% while eliminating the ability to deduct federal taxes from a filer’s state tax liability.

The top tax rate applies to individuals making more than $50,000 annually and couples making more than $100,000 annually, according to the Louisiana Department of Revenue.

The measure has been called a “tax swap” rather than a tax cut because of the exchange of lower rates for the federal deduction.

“It’s going to be revenue neutral overall,” Edwards said. “Tax bills are not going to be higher.”

Edwards said the reform’s “architecture” applies to corporations and provides more independence from federal lawmakers since they determined the amount Louisiana taxpayers could deduct.

“We’re going to have control over what the revenues are going to be as opposed to ceding that to Congress who will on occasion either raise or lower taxes,” Edwards said. “Every time that happens, it impacts what we collect here in Louisiana even though we didn’t make a change.

“That’s why I think it was the right thing to do; by the way, that was a deduction, if I’m not mistaken, that only one or two other states actually have because it just isn’t good tax policy,” Edwards said.

Voters rejected the remaining two ballot measures, Amendments 3 and 4, which would have allowed levee districts created after 2006 to raise property taxes and state lawmakers to use up to 10% of protected funds during budget deficits.

Staff Reporter

William Patrick is a regional reporter for The Center Square currently covering Louisiana. He previously covered the Florida Legislature and has a background in investigative journalism. William’s work has been widely published over his 10-year career.